A Singapore court sent a British man to prison for leaving his quarantine hotel room to see his fiancée upstairs

Bill Bostock
·2 min read
Briton Skea Nigel and partner Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai arrive at the State Courts for a hearing after breaking coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine regulations in Singapore February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai and Nigel Skea outside a Singapore court. REUTERS/Edgar Su
  • Singapore requires all new arrivals to quarantine in a hotel room for 14 days.

  • Last September, Nigel Skea took his quarantine hotel's emergency stairs to sneak a visit to his fiancée.

  • Skea was caught, pleaded guilty, and on Friday was given two weeks in jail and a $753 fine.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Authorities in Singapore sentenced a British man to two weeks in prison after he broke the city's hotel-quarantine laws to spend the night with his fiancée upstairs.

Nigel Skea, 52, used the emergency staircase at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore Hotel to visit Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai, 39, in September last year, the BBC reported.

By law, new arrivals in Singapore must spend 14 days in a hotel room as a precaution against imported cases of COVID-19.

After arriving in Singapore from London on September 20, Skea told Eyamalai - who lives in the city and did not need to quarantine at the time - to book a room in his hotel, prosecutors said, according to Channel News Asia.

During the two-week stay, Skea walked up several flights of stairs to meet Eyamalai on the 27th floor, where Eyamalai opened an emergency-exit door for him, prosecutors said, according to Channel News Asia.

Skea pleaded guilty to one charge of contravening a control order and one charge of not wearing a face covering on February 15, Channel News Asia reported.

On Friday, a Singapore court sentenced Skea to two weeks in prison and gave him a fine of 1,000 Singapore dollars ($739), Channel News Asia reported. Eyamalai was also sentenced to one week in prison, the outlet said.

Skea and Eyamalai have since married, the BBC reported.

singapore
Singapore seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

District Judge Jasvender Kaur said the fact that the couple were engaged didn't negate that they had broken the rules.

"The fact of the matter is that the restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of the pandemic," she said, according to Channel News Asia.

"Disruptions to relationships are an inevitable consequence. It requires patience and sacrifice."

Singapore imposed widespread and tough rules on preventing the spread of COVID-19, known as the Stay-Home Notice program, in February 2020.

The program included mandatory hotel quarantines, for residents and non-residents alike.

As Insider's Julie Gerstein previously reported, food is provided by the hotels and delivered directly to the rooms to ensure minimal human contact. Those in quarantine must also record their temperature three times a day.

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