This statutory quarantine document given to every person returning to Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a 19,000-GBP fine for a woman who left home twice – including once to see a friend.
Authorities with Luzhou Precinct in Taiwan’s north-western city of Taoyuan said local resident Ms He, 43, left her home twice on 13th and 16th March despite being handed self-quarantine orders which require her to remain at home for at least 14 days.
Ms He had returned from Macau on 1st March and was meant to observe a two-week quarantine period starting midnight on 2nd March.
However, CCTV cameras caught her leaving her home for walks on two occasions, including once to meet a friend.
Taoyuan’s Department of Health issued Ms He a fine of 700,000 TWD (19,000 GBP) for breaching the island’s quarantine rules, which it relies on to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The self-rule island, which is just 110 miles from mainland China, has recorded 267 cases and two deaths, with schools and businesses operating at normal.
Ms He reportedly told health officials: “I didn’t know it would be so strict!”
The Department of Health explained that the severity of fines for flouting quarantine regulations is dependent on how far an individual travels and what they do during their unauthorised outing.
There is different punishment for those who travel distances of within 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) from their home, between 2 and 5 kilometres (1.2 and 3 miles), and more than 5 kilometres (3 miles).
Ms He’s fine comprises a sum of 350,000 TWD (9,500 GBP) for travelling a distance greater than 5 kilometres (3 miles) on the first occasion.
Her second outing was within 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), but it landed her a fine of the same amount as it was a repeat offence and because she risked infecting another person, the department explained.
The laws, which are listed under Taiwan’s Communicable Disease Control Act, require self-quarantining individuals to regularly record their body temperature using a health kit provided to them at their port of entry.
The falsifying of these health records can also result in fines between 10,000 and 150,000 TWD (270 and 4,000 GBP).
On paper, Taiwan’s heaviest fine for skipping quarantine is 1 million TWD (27,000 GBP), but some cities have threatened to double that if individuals are caught using public transport.
Ms He has 30 days to settle her payment or risk a forced seizure of assets.