Singapore — On Friday (Feb 28), a couple who are Chinese nationals were charged under the Infectious Diseases Act with impeding the work of health officials battling the Covid-19 outbreak.
Those charged were Hu Jun, a 38-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan, and his wife, 36-year-old Shi Sha, a Chinese national living in Singapore.
Hu was charged with one count of obstructing contact tracing and Shi faced three charges of blocking the work of health officials and a charge of failing to comply with isolation conditions.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) noted that Hu arrived in Singapore from China on Jan 22. He was confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 on Jan 31.
On Feb 1, after Hu was diagnosed, an MOH health officer at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) required him to give information about his whereabouts and activities for the period of Jan 22 to 29.
According to the charge sheets, Hu said that he mostly stayed in a condominium unit at Loft @ Nathan, went out for dinner at Ion Orchard only on one day, and took a walk around the neighbourhood at 31 Nathan Road in River Valley. This was all allegedly false information.
Shi, on the other hand, had been issued an isolation order on Feb 1 after her husband was diagnosed with the coronavirus. The quarantine order required her to stay at the couple’s home in Loft @ Nathan during the period of Jan 31 to Feb 12. Shi allegedly did not comply with the order.
The charge sheets show that Shi also gave false information about the exact unit she had stayed in at the Loft @ Nathan and about taking a taxi from their home to SGH.
On Feb 19, Hu recovered from the infection and was discharged from hospital.
The MOH confirmed that Hu and Shi gave false information about their whereabouts and movements between Jan 22 and Jan 29, and hindered the investigations of health officials.
MOH officials had reached out to the couple for details so that they could conduct contact tracing. By means of thorough investigations, MOH was able to establish the couple’s true movements.
On Friday (Feb 28), the prosecutor said that he needed about 14 days to prepare for the case. Defence counsel Chung Ting Fai also asked for more time.
The judge adjourned the case to March 20.
Any person convicted of an offence under the Act faces a fine of up to $10,000 or jail of up to six months, or both, for the first offence.
Earlier in February, China declared that harsh penalties await any persons who disrupt, hinder or obstruct in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. Seven medical crimes and their corresponding punishments (including the death penalty, in severe cases) were identified. /TISG
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