Singapore: Standing Too Close Can Get You Fined and 6 Months in Prison

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I’m always fascinated by other countries and their “social policies.” One of the most fascinating and unique countries in the world is Singapore. The country is often associated with cleanliness and safety. On the other hand, many share the view that law enforcement in the country can be somewhat heavy-handed when it comes to maintaining those standards as breaking laws (i.e. chewing gum, littering, connecting to someone else’s Wi-Fi network, jaywalking, walking nude in your own home, etc.) are enforced with prison time, fines and even caning.


Starting today, anyone caught breaking Singapore’s social distancing rules can land themselves in prison after Singapore made it an offense for a person to intentionally stand close to another person as part of its coronavirus defense.

Singapore has won international praise for its attentive and meticulous approach in tackling the virus, which has included using police investigators and security cameras to help track suspected carriers.

With some of the world’s highest population densities, Singapore announced more stringent social distancing measures such as shutting bars, limiting gatherings to up to 10 people outside work and school as well as a ban on large events this past week.


Personally, Singapore is one of my favorite countries in the world. It is unlike any other country and under updates to its powerful infectious diseases law, anyone who intentionally sits less than 1 meter away from another person in a public place, sits on a fixed seat demarcated as not to be occupied, or who stands in line less than a meter away from another, will be guilty of the offense.

The rule will be in place until 30 April 2020 and offenders can be fined up to SGD$10,000 (~7,000 USD), jailed for up to six months, or both.

Interestingly, unlike other countries, Singapore has not gone into complete lockdown. In fact, children are still attending school and although, Singapore has seen its numbers gradually increase, it has not had an explosion of cases.

At the time of publishing this article, Singapore has a population of 5.8 million people, has 683 confirmed cases, and only two people have died from respiratory complications caused by the disease known as COVID-19. Singapore’s mortality rate is — arguably — the best in the world at 0.3%.

Maybe I won’t cancel my flight to Singapore…???

Have you ever been to Singapore? What was your experience?

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