Singapore: Man with acute respiratory infection pleads guilty to leaving home against doctor's orders to get tattooed

Tan Fu Yu, 20, ignored his doctor’s orders to get a Covid-19 swab and stay home while waiting for the results. — TODAY file pic
Tan Fu Yu, 20, ignored his doctor’s orders to get a Covid-19 swab and stay home while waiting for the results. — TODAY file pic

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SINGAPORE, Nov 26 — Although he was issued with a medical certificate for acute upper respiratory tract infection and was required to undergo a Covid-19 swab test, Tan Fu Yu ignored his doctor’s orders and went to get himself tattooed instead.

Today, the 20-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge of contravening the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 – Stay Orders) Regulations 2020.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim sought a “short custodial term”, and Tan will be back in court again on Dec 9 for his sentencing.

The prosecutor told the court that Tan visited Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic on Dec 8 last year to seek treatment for a dry cough and an itchy throat.

A doctor diagnosed him with an acute upper respiratory tract infection and told him to undergo a Covid-19 swab test.

Tan was also issued with a three-day medical certificate that was valid until Dec 10.

The certificate stated that Tan was required by law to stay at home until his Covid-19 swab test result was found to be negative.

The doctor similarly explained to Tan that he was not allowed to leave his residence until either the end of his medical leave, or until he received notification of a negative swab test result.

DPP Lim said Tan had acknowledged the doctor’s explanation, collected the medical certificate and left the consultation room.

Instead of going for his Covid-19 swab test and collecting his medicine, Tan took a public bus home.

A nurse from the polyclinic tried unsuccessfully to contact Tan several times on his mobile phone.

The following afternoon, Tan took a private-hire vehicle to a tattoo studio located along Sin Ming Road for an appointment.

While he was getting his tattoo done, Tan started “bleeding excessively”, the prosecutor said. Once the procedure was over, he took a public bus home.

DPP Lim said Tan had not undergone any Covid-19 test after his consultation with the doctor on Dec 8.

The prosecutor said that because Tan had not tested himself for Covid-19 at the time of the offence, there was an increased risk that he could have spread the coronavirus to the passengers and drivers of the buses he took, as well as the private-hire driver and his tattoo artist.

“He had breached his medical certificate rules for a frivolous reason, which was to get a tattoo which was neither necessary nor pressing at the time,” said DPP Lim.

She added that while Tan is relatively young, he was only a year shy of adulthood when he committed his offences.

Tan, who was unrepresented, admitted his mistakes and said that there was “no excuse for it”.

Asking District Judge May Mesenas for a second chance, he told her that he has changed since the incident, and will abide by the rules moving forward.

District Judge Mesenas has reserved her judgement.

For his offence, Tan could be punished with a fine of up to S$10,000 or a jail term of up to six months, or both. — TODAY

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