SINGAPORE - Singapore's manpower ministry has banned eight Britons from working in the country after they flouted its strict COVID-19 rules by getting together on a yacht last year, local media and authorities said on Thursday.
The eight were work visa holders and were part of a group that gathered on the boat in December 2020, intermingling without masks at a time when social gatherings were limited to five people, The Straits Times newspaper reported.
"The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has permanently banned these individuals from working in Singapore for breaching regulations under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act," the ministry said in a statement.
They were also fined S$3,000 dollars ($2,250) each.
Their work passes had earlier been canceled by their former employers, the ministry added.
In addition to the eight Britons, there was another Briton and another foreigner aboard the same boat, who were banned earlier in the year for violating the same rule, the ministry said.
The tiny island nation, known for its no-nonsense law enforcement and widespread surveillance, has jailed and fined several people for breaking COVID-19 rules, while other foreigners have also had their work permits revoked.
Violations of COVID-19 rules can be penalised with a fine of up to S$10,000 or up to six months in jail, or both.
($1 = $1.0000)
(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Martin Petty) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))