A 64-year-old man who deliberately coughed on colleagues while infected with Covid “as a joke” will be jailed for two weeks
- Tamilselvam Ramaiya coughed on his colleagues, one of whom was a dialysis patient
- He had tested positive for Covid minutes before but refused to leave the building
A man who deliberately coughed in the direction of colleagues who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Singapore has received a short jail sentence despite arguing the stunt was “just a joke”.
Tamilselvam Ramaiya, 64 years old, An employee of investment holding company Leong Hup Singapore was sentenced to two weeks in prison on Monday for endangering his co-workers and infecting one of them with the virus.
This incident took place during a period of heightened restrictions in autumn 2021, resulting in charges under Singapore’s COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act.
Singapore was known for its strict measures during the pandemic and only revoked some of its most restrictive measures in February this year.
Tamilselvam Ramaiya, 64, an employee at investment holding company Leong Hup Singapore, was sentenced on Monday to two weeks in prison for endangering his co-workers and infecting one of them with the virus in 2021 (FILE PHOTO: Covid vaccination center in Singapore October 2021)
On October 18, 2021, Ramaiya, employed as a cleaner at Leong Hup Singapore, reported for work at the company’s logistics office, according to The Straits Times.
He was instructed to undergo a rapid antigen test, which returned a positive result.
Following protocol, he was told to leave the building immediately, but Ramaiya decided to stay in the building and talk to the 40-year-old assistant logistics manager and a 56-year-old employee with a litany of health problems, including serious kidney problems that had forced her to undergo dialysis.
‘The accused [Ramaiya]”, who was initially wearing his mask, walked towards the office door and left the office,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana said in a statement.
“However, he then opened the office door and entered the office coughing with his mask on. The defendant did this twice, before [logistics supervisor] I closed the office door with my leg.
After being led out of the room, Ramaiya opened the door again, this time lowering his mask to cough in the direction of the logistics manager and the employee.
Ramaiya was instructed to undergo a rapid antigen test, which returned a positive result. He then proceeded to cough on his colleagues, including one who was suffering from serious heart and kidney problems.
Then he left permanently, but, still trying to make his companions uncomfortable, he opened a window from the outside and coughed through the gap.
Ramaiya’s lawyer argued that his client was not acting out of malice and asked him to pay a fine, but the court ultimately decided to send him behind bars given the 56-year-old employee’s serious health problems, which Ramaiya knew.
The World Health Organization reports that Singapore has witnessed more than 2.5 million COVID cases between January 3, 2020 and September 13 this year, resulting in approximately 1,870 deaths.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health has stated that about 81 percent of its population has received some form of vaccine protection.