Coronavirus: Taiwan quarantine skipper handed $33,000 fine for clubbing

Authorities slapped him with the maximum fine possible because his night out was deemed ‘malicious’

epa08315931 A health worker wearing a protective gown (C) takes a woman and her child (R) to be tested for coronavirus Covid-19 as they arrive at Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan, 23 March 2020. On 23 March, Taiwan reported 26 new coronavirus Covid-19 infection cases, pushing the total to 195. Of the 26 cases, 25 are 'imported cases.'  EPA/DAVID CHANG

A man in Taipei had an expensive night out after he was fined one million New Taiwan dollars (Dh121,383) because he skipped quarantine to go clubbing, authorities said on Monday.

The unnamed man, who was supposed to self-isolate for a fortnight at home after returning from Southeast Asia, was caught partying in the Taiwanese capital on Sunday during a routine police check at a nightclub.

Authorities slapped him with the maximum fine possible because his partying was deemed “malicious”.

“Those who are caught going out to places that have big crowds and are not well ventilated will be sent to centralised epidemic prevention facility and fined Tw$1 million,” said New Taipei city mayor Hou Yu-ih.

“I will not be soft-handed.”


Taiwan has been held as an example of how to handle the outbreak, with the government moving fast to reduce overseas arrivals from infected areas and issue clear medical guidance that has been widely adopted by the public.

Its centralised epidemic control centre was activated before China had even locked down the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated.

Taiwan’s government on Tuesday announced 20 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 215.

All of the latest cases were imported, by patients who travelled from countries including Britain, Ireland, Turkey and Indonesia, the government said in a statement.

Taiwan has now banned entry to foreigners and ordered all returning nationals to self-isolate for two weeks.

Those in quarantine are monitored via GPS on phones and messaging systems, with police alerted to those who leave their apartments.

Earlier this month, Taipei city government announced the first maximum fine, for a man who flew from mainland China, refused to enter quarantine, took a high-speed train then tried to catch a plane from the island.

The Tw$1m fine can be doubled for anyone who takes public transport.