singapore tourism merlion
A cyclist takes a photo in front of the Merlion statue in Singapore on January 4, 2021.
ROSLAN RAHMAN/Afp/AFP via Getty Images
  • A 52-year-old British man was charged with violating Singapore’s mandatory 14-day quarantine after it was discovered that he met with his Singaporean fiancée, the city-state’s immigration authority said on Friday.
  • Skea Nigel is accused of leaving his room at the five-star Ritz-Carlton Millenia hotel on three separate occasions in September 2020.
  • On one occasion, Nigel allegedly left his room without a mask on at 2:00 a.m. to meet up with Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai, who wasn’t in quarantine but had booked a room at the same hotel.
  • In Singapore, most returning citizens, foreign workers, and visitors must serve a 14-day quarantine in a hotel, during which they’re not allowed to leave the room.
  • Nigel and his fiancée both face up to six months in prison, a fine of roughly $7,500, or both penalties.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A 52-year-old British man who was charged in court on Friday with violating Singapore’s notoriously strict quarantine rules could face up to six months in prison or a fine of about $7,500- or both – according to the city-state’s immigration authority. 

Last September, British national Skea Nigel was serving his mandatory 14-day quarantine at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia, a spokesperson for the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) confirmed to Insider.

On September 21, Nigel left his room on three separate occasions while not wearing a mask, the ICA said in a press release. On one of those occasions, he left his room on the 14th floor at about 2:00 a.m. and went to the 27th floor to meet up with his Singaporean fiancée, the Straits Times reported. Nigel’s fiancée, Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai, who was not in quarantine but who had booked another room in the same hotel, was also charged with abetting Nigel’s breach of the quarantine requirements, per ICA.

Singapore has kept its COVID-19 numbers low in recent months by strictly enforcing a 14-day quarantine for incoming foreign workers and citizens. Known as a stay-home notice (SHN), the quarantine is most often served in a government-designated hotel. In many cases, people are quarantining in five-star hotels like the Ritz-Carlton or the ultra-luxurious Shangri-La. Throughout the 14-day quarantine, travelers must stay in their room at all times except for a brief departure for their required COVID-19 swab test.

The quarantine period has helped Singapore greatly reduce its overall number of COVID cases and deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has recorded just under 59,000 cases and 29 deaths. 

A spokesperson for the Ritz-Carlton Millenia, a five-star hotel in the heart of Singapore's Marina Bay where a night's stay currently starts at about $360, told Insider that the hotel "observes all government-mandated regulations" when accommodating guests serving their stay-home notices.

"For privacy reasons, we are unable to provide any further comment on specific incidents," the spokesperson said.

The penalty for breaching quarantine requirements could be a fine of about $7,500, imprisonment of up to six months, or both, according to the immigration authority.

Foreigners like Nigel may also have their permits to stay or work in Singapore revoked, as the city-state has already done. Since May, Singapore has revoked at least 44 work passes from people who violated SHN requirements.

Read the original article on Insider