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(LEAD) Police file arrest warrant for self-isolation violator

All News 14:22 April 13, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details in last three paras)

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- Police said Monday they have requested the detention of a 68-year-old man who went outside despite being placed under coronavirus-related self-isolation.

"(Police) have filed an arrest warrant this morning for a Songpa Ward resident who repeatedly violated self-isolation rules after returning from the United States," Lee Yong-pyo, commissioner of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, told reporters.

The resident in the southeastern ward of Songpa is alleged to have visited a spa and a restaurant despite being under two-week self-isolation after arriving here last week, according to the police.

He tested negative for the coronavirus, the police chief said, adding that there will not be issues with his detention if he stays in a single cell.

Lee said the police plan to deal with self-isolators in a "stern" manner and probe whether self-isolation violators repeatedly breached the rules, attempted to hide their itinerary or came in contact with other people.

Police have so far probed 28 people for violating self-isolation guidelines. The cases for three of them have been referred to the prosecution.

This photo, taken on April 8, 2020, shows an immigration officer explaining self-isolation guidelines to an international arrival at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

This is the first case in which police have requested a self-isolation violator to be formally detained.

South Korea has tightened measures related to the virus, such as by imposing mandatory two-week self-isolation on all international arrivals. Those who breach self-isolation rules could face up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 10 million won (US$8,197).

The country has reported 10,537 COVID-19 cases since its first case on Jan. 20.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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