Man Fined £28,000 For Clubbing When He Should Have Been Self-Isolating During Coronavirus Outbreak
A Taiwanese man has been handed a fine of over £28,000 ($32,250) after police found him dancing in a nightclub while he was meant to be self-quarantining at home.
Officers in the island's capital of Taipei were conducting a routine inspection of crowded establishments including clubs and bars when they discovered 35-year-old Mr Huang's quarantine status yesterday (22 March).
Police across the self-ruled island are equipped with cloud-based service 'M-Police', which allows authorised users to check an individual user's status in seconds.
Mr Huang, who had returned to Taiwan from Cambodia on 18 March, was given the mandatory order to self-quarantine for 14 days until 2 April.
The man, only known as Mr Huang, was arrested in Taipei's Omni Nightclub and moved immediately to a quarantine facility run by the island's centralised epidemic control centre, which was activated even before coronavirus epicentre Wuhan was put on lockdown.
Mr Huang, whose registered residence is in neighbouring New Taipei City, was issued a fine of 1 million New Taiwan dollars (TWD), the equivalent of £28,220, for breaching the island's strict quarantine law.
Mr Huang's visiting of a 'crowded and enclosed space' was deemed 'malicious', resulting in the heavy punishment, the municipal Department of Health said in a statement.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih said in a press conference today (23 March): "I will not go soft on you. If you leave your home, I will fine you."
Those found to have taken public transport while flouting a quarantine order will be fined up to 2 million TWD (£56,850), reports said.
Before the latest fine, 55 people had been found skipping quarantine, resulting in fines totalling 3.3 million TWD (£93,890). Mr Huang's punishment brings quarantine-related fines to 4.3 million TWD (£122,360).
Taiwan's model response to the coronavirus outbreak is the result of lessons learned during the 2002 SARS outbreak. The island has yet to order a lockdown.
Schools across Taiwan remain open, with rigorous temperature and symptom screening taking place at gates and in classrooms.
A recent spike in confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which there are 195 in total, has mostly come from Taiwan nationals returning from Europe and the United States.
Confirmed or highly suspected individuals ordered to self-isolate by Taiwan Centers for Disease Control are being monitored via their mobile phone SIM card's GPS signal.
The island has banned all foreign nationals from entering, while passport holders must self-isolate for at least 14 days from date of entry.
The island, which has a population of 23.7 million, has recorded two Covid-19-related deaths to date.
Featured Image Credit: AsiaWire