New Taipei woman caught shirking quarantine on scooter

4 Taiwanese fined NT$1 million for skipping out on coronavirus quarantine

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(New Taipei Police Department photo)

(New Taipei Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A New Taipei woman was caught on Sunday (March 22) riding her scooter while she was supposed to be undergoing home quarantine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

While patrolling Jixian Road in New Taipei City's Luzhou District on Sunday, a Luzhou Precinct police officer spotted a woman riding a scooter registered to a person that was supposed to be undergoing quarantine. When he pulled the woman over and checked her identity, he found that she was indeed meant to be home under quarantine, but she claimed that she needed to make a quick trip to buy some food, reported SET News.

In a video from the officer's helmet cam, he can be heard asking "Aren't you supposed to be undergoing home quarantine?" The woman responds, "I wanted to go up ahead and buy something. Well, I'll go back home now, I live right over there."

The police officer informed her that this was an illegal act. She again tried to justify her reckless decision, saying "I just wanted to buy something because there's no one at home." He then suggested she use the delivery service Food Panda.

The woman then claimed she "hadn't thought of that." The officer ordered the woman to return home immediately and strictly follow the terms of her quarantine.

He sent a report of the case to the relevant authorities to decide on the appropriate punishment. In order to reduce the possibility of infection, the officer took measures to disinfect himself after the incident and discarded his face mask.

On Monday (March 23) Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) uploaded a post on his Facebook page in which he stated that four persons in Taiwan have been handed the maximum fine of NT$1 million (US$33,000) for violating their quarantines. He also wrote that the government is "not made out of plastic [not weak]" and that is not just doing this "for show."

Taiwan has been the envy of the world due to the Central Epidemic Command Center's astute handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the country has been rattled in recent weeks by a new wave of infected patients returning from overseas trips, prompting officials to require all international arrivals to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.