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Fathullah Abdul Rahman, 22, spent hours outdoors despite being told by his doctor that he was legally required to stay home for that period and could only leave after receiving a negative swab test result. — TODAY pic
Fathullah Abdul Rahman, 22, spent hours outdoors despite being told by his doctor that he was legally required to stay home for that period and could only leave after receiving a negative swab test result. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Oct 11 — He first breached Covid-19 laws by leaving his Geylang home and meeting a friend while he was ill. His swab test later turned out to be negative for Covid-19.

When Fathullah Abdul Rahman fell ill again two weeks later and was issued another medical certificate, he went out again. This time, he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 22-year-old full-time national serviceman with the Singapore Civil Defence Force was sentenced to 18 weeks’ jail on Monday (Oct 11) for his actions last year.

He pleaded guilty to two charges under the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 – Stay Orders) Regulations 2020, with another two similar charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that he first visited the Civil Defence Academy Complex Medical Centre on Sept 2 last year, complaining of a sore throat and vomiting. He was diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection and gastritis, and underwent a nasal swab test.

The doctor also issued a three-day medical certificate and told him he was legally required to stay home for that period, and could only leave after receiving a negative swab test result.

Fathullah then returned to his Geylang East Central public housing flat.

But the next morning, he left his home and went to Bedok MRT Station to meet a female friend. The pair then spent time in the Kallang area, with Fathullah only returning home after spending about eight-and-a-half hours outside.

He received his negative swab test result the next day.

Then, on Sept 17 last year, he went to the same doctor and was again diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection. He took a swab test and returned home.

The next day, he left home and took the train to the Somerset Skate Park. He then travelled to Bugis Junction mall, walked around the area and went back home at 10pm after spending about 10 hours outdoors.

After receiving his positive Covid-19 test result the next morning, he was taken in an ambulance to Changi General Hospital and warded for four days. He was then quarantined at D’Resort in Pasir Ris and discharged on Sept 27 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yong Ngee sought five to six months’ jail for Fathullah, noting that he had left home for frivolous reasons and travelled a substantial distance on both occasions.

His lawyer Yamuna Balakrishnan argued for four months’ imprisonment instead, saying he was usually a law-abiding citizen and had wanted to sign on as an SCDF regular.

He was selected to be a section commander and was undergoing training while holding the rank of specialist cadet, but his training was terminated after his offences. Yamuna said that he had paid the price in this way.

The lawyer also said that Fathullah lived in a three-room flat with six others and needed to sleep in the hall when he returned from training, with the lack of space leading to him leaving home. Nevertheless, she added that this was not an excuse.

For breaching Covid-19 laws, he could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or punished with both. — TODAY


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