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Man gets suspended prison sentence for breaching self-quarantine rule

A quarantine violator was given a suspended prison sentence by a Seoul court Friday after being convicted of illegally leaving his designated self-isolation accommodation several times before testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Seoul Western District Court sentenced the violator, identified only as a 29-year-old, to six months in prison, suspended for two years, for breaching the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act and ordered him to complete 120 hours of community service.

In late May, the accused was ordered by the health authorities to self-quarantine at his residence until June 9, after a COVID-19 case occurred at a building where he worked.

But he was accused of leaving his home four times without permission between June 5-8 to visit a nearby supermarket and travel to different places, including southwestern areas in Seoul and Goyang, just northwest of the capital.

He was later confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus.

"Self-quarantine violations are very likely to be condemned as they can bring huge risk and cost to our society by posing a severe threat to the nation's antivirus efforts," the court said.

"The offense should be taken seriously considering the number of violations and their purposes, the distance traveled during the violations and his subsequent diagnosis of COVID-19," the court added.

Under the country's Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act, those who violate the self-quarantine order can be jailed for less than a year or fined up to 10 million won ($8,867). (Yonhap)