Covid-19-positive man allegedly harassed 2 people by coughing in their direction at a office in Woodlands

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SINGAPORE - A Covid-19-positive man accused of failing to wear a mask over his nose and mouth allegedly harassed two people by coughing in their direction.

Tamilselvam Ramaiya, 62, who appeared in a district court on Thursday (Dec 30), now faces two harassment charges and one charge under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

The Singaporean allegedly committed the offences at a logistics office in Senoko Way at around 10.30am on Oct 18.

Court documents do not disclose when he was diagnosed with Covid-19 and what he was doing there.

Tamilselvam allegedly coughed at two people — a man and a woman — at the office, causing alarm to them.

It was not stated if they later became infected with Covid-19.

His pre-trial conference will take place on Jan 17.

Tamilselvam is not the first person to be hauled to court over such offences amid the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore.

In September 2020, Tan Shiaw Wee, who did not have Covid-19, was jailed for five weeks after he removed his mask and coughed at a supermarket crowd controller.

The Singaporean, then 47, pleaded guilty on July 28 that year to one charge each of harassment and an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

In an earlier proceeding, the court heard that, shortly before he committed the offences, Tan was withdrawing cash from an ATM near the entrance of a Sheng Siong supermarket in Bukit Batok on April 22, 2020.

He later saw that the crowd controller had partially removed her mask to wipe her face.

Tan picked up a hand sanitiser bottle meant for supermarket customers and sprayed her several times before walking away.

The woman said she would take his photograph and alert the police.

Tan, who overheard this, approached her, removed his mask and coughed at her once before leaving.

For each count of harassment, an offender can be jailed up to six months and fined up to $5,000.

A first-time offender convicted of an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

A repeat offender can be jailed up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.