Man Jailed After Breaking Mandatory Quarantine by Sneaking Out of Hotel to Visit Girlfriend

A man in Australia was jailed after he broke a mandatory 14-day quarantine by sneaking out of his hotel to visit his girlfriend.

Jonathan David, 35, flew into Perth, Western Australia, from Victoria, on March 28 and was required to self-isolate for two weeks under the country's Emergency Management Act, according to police in Western Australia.

David was provided a room at a hotel in the city, police said, but he wedged open a fire exit door so he could leave and return without being seen by hotel staff. He was arrested on April 5, more than a week before his quarantine period was due to end, after he was caught out of his room twice in two days

WA Today reported that David was seen outside his room five times over a period of four days before police were called. On April 4, he was not in his room when officers arrived at 7:30 a.m. When he turned up around 45 minutes later, he claimed he had left because of a "personal problem."

That night, he snuck out of the hotel at around 9 p.m. and didn't return until 4:20 a.m. the following morning. He admitted to police that he had taken a train to visit his girlfriend in Armadale, a suburb of Perth, according to WA Today.

Perth Police
Police officers patrol Cottesloe Beach on April 10, 2020 in Perth, Australia. Paul Kane/Getty Images

On Wednesday, David became the first person in Australia to be jailed under new movement laws aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. He was sentenced to six and a half months in jail and fined $1,250 ($2,000AUD) at Perth Magistrates Court. He will have to serve one month in jail, according to WA Today.

The magistrate who sentenced him called him "selfish" and "breathtakingly arrogant" and said his decision to take public transport while out of his room had posed an even greater risk to the public.

"You were more than foolish, your actions were selfish in the extreme, your actions were reckless in that you paid no attention to the potential risk you were exposing the community to," Magistrate Elaine Campione said. "You chose to roll the dice with other people's lives and that is breathtakingly arrogant."

Western Australia Police launched an enforcement squad last month in a bid to ensure compliance with restrictions imposed in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The force said the squad's officers would conduct spot checks of those required to self-quarantine and those who breach the rules would be charged. Western Australia Police have been contacted for additional comment.

Australia has 6,440 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 63 deaths, including six in Western Australia, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. More than 2,000 people have recovered from the disease in the country.

This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the spread of COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 15.

statista, covid19, coronavirus,
A map showing COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 15, 2020. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
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World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

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Mask and glove usage

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