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American Pilot Jailed in Singapore for Breaking Quarantine

Singapore Plane Shutterstock Travelerpix

An American cargo pilot has become the first foreigner jailed in Singapore for breaking quarantine.

FedEx pilot Brian Dugan Yeargan, 44, of Alaska, has been sentenced to four weeks in jail for leaving his room for three hours during quarantine to buy masks and a thermometer. The pilot admitted to “poor judgment” in breaking his quarantine during his trial.

Yeargan and his two co-pilots were taken to an airport hotel to spend their two weeks in quarantine when they arrived in Singapore on April 3, 2020. They were scheduled for quarantine because their health declarations listed China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and the United States in the two-week period before they arrived.

On April 5, Health officials who were sent to check up on Yeargan found that he was not in his room.

Yeargan told the court he took the metro downtown to buy a thermometer and a few boxes of masks before he was to fly home on April 6. In his defense, Yeargan said that he needed the items because they were in short supply in the United States, and his wife back home was ill (but tested negative for the coronavirus in March). The court countered by saying that Yeargan should have asked someone to obtain the items for him.

Currently, Singapore has 26,000 cases of the coronavirus making it one of the hardest-hit Asian countries. Over 90% of those infected with COVID-19 are foreign workers living in crowded dormitories.

The country has strict penalties for those who breach quarantine rules, don’t wear masks in public, or fail to social distance. Punishments can reach up to six months in jail, a fine of up to 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,000), or both. Yeargan said he was “relieved” to receive only four weeks as prosecutors originally sought a sentence of up to eight weeks. Yeargan will apply for a remission for good behavior that may see him released in three weeks.

Yeargan is the first foreigner sentenced for violating quarantine orders, but several Singaporeans have been jailed for between five and six weeks for not properly social distancing.

Mcflyneo May 30, 2020

He tried, and failed. There's no excuse so better think carefully about the risk you're taking. he leared it the hard way.

OMSHH May 22, 2020

Singapore also has the following rule as it relates to traveller's who might return to the country and are admitted to a hospital on Singapore for suspected COVID-19 and have onset of symptoms within 14 days of their entry to Singapore, they will be charged for the cost of their treatment (and I quote the Singapore Ministry Of Health) "at unsubsidised rates for their inpatient stay at public hospitals". Ouch.....

arcticflier May 21, 2020

Sounds more like he was going out for a pint and some companionship. Why not have the hotel coordinate getting the masks? After all, a 3-hour journey on the metro is hardly a simple outing. And the reason the Health officials happened to visit his room is because the hotel tipped them off to his leaving the building.

bradders239 May 21, 2020

Another fine example of an American who thinks the rules dont apply to him and they wont arrest me because I am from USA, the greatest country in the world.

teddybear99 May 20, 2020

My question is why would a cargo pilot need to be quarantined for 14 days? He should be quarantined for the amount of time he needed to spend in the country before returning to the USA on his return assignment. Also, the airline he worked for should set up housing that their pilots would use for the rest period required to fly again somewhere on airport property.