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Self-Quarantine Violator Jailed

A man in his 20s who violated self-quarantine regulations and left his home twice has been jailed for four months in the first punitive ruling under new stringent laws to control infectious diseases.

A district court in Uijeongbu north of Seoul sentenced the 27-year-old man to four months behind bars on charges of violating laws against spreading infectious diseases. The man left his home, was caught and put in a temporary shelter, only to escape again.

“The defendant’s offenses are serious and were committed over an extended period of time,” the court said. “The defendant deserves to be punished severely because at the time Korea was at the peak of the coronavirus epidemic.”

A robot checks people’s temperatures while disinfecting a building with an ultraviolet sterilizer in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

The man had been released from a hospital in Uijeongbu and ordered to place himself in self-quarantine in early April. But he left his house with just two days left until his 14-day self-quarantine period ended and visited a sauna, a convenience store and other busy establishments.

Police caught him two days later by tracking his mobile phone and placed him in a shelter, but he fled again.

Some 70 similar cases are pending.

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