Coronavirus: Couple face charges over giving false info to health officials
Another Chinese national will be barred from re-entering as Singapore takes strict stance in virus fight
Singapore is taking a strict stance against those who refuse to comply with its stringent measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Yesterday, it was announced that action is being taken against three Chinese nationals whose actions have posed significant risks to public health.
Two of them, a couple, will be charged tomorrow under the Infectious Diseases Act.
This is the first such prosecution under the Act here over Covid-19.
In the other case, a 45-year-old had his permanent resident status revoked after breaching Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements.
In the case involving the couple, Hu Jun, 38, who is from Wuhan, and his wife Shi Sha, 36, who lives here, are alleged to have given false information to health authorities about their movements and whereabouts.
Hu was confirmed to be infected as Case 16 on Jan 31, having arrived in Singapore on Jan 22. Shi was identified as a close contact and issued a quarantine order on Feb 1.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the couple, when contacted for the purposes of contact tracing, gave false information regarding their movements and whereabouts from Jan 22 to 29.
Hu initially claimed he developed symptoms on Jan 23 and stayed at his home in Nathan Road from then till Jan 29, before taking a taxi to Singapore General Hospital.
It has not been revealed what his actual movements were.
Shi also provided false information when she was subsequently placed under quarantine.
It was only through detailed investigations that the authorities were able to establish their true movements.
Hu has recovered and was discharged on Feb 19.
MOH added that because of the potentially serious repercussions, the Chinese couple were served charges on Tuesday.
If convicted, they can each be fined up to $10,000, or jailed for up to six months, or both, for the first offence.
In the other case involving the 45-year-old man, a spokesman for the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said the Chinese national, who committed the breach while here from Feb 20 to 23, will also be barred from re-entering Singapore.
The ICA said the man was served the SHN on Feb 20 as he had recently travelled to mainland China.
The SHN was introduced by the multi-ministry task force on Feb 17, and at least 77 such notices had been issued by the ICA as of Feb 19.
Those served with an SHN must remain contactable and in their place of residence at all times.
Despite being briefed on the requirements, the man did not respond to calls and was not at his place of residence when ICA officers conducted enforcement checks.
He was caught attempting to leave the country on Feb 23 and was warned by ICA officers but insisted on leaving.
Because of his wilful breach, ICA has rejected his application for renewal of his re-entry permit, effectively cancelling his PR status.
This is the first such enforcement action taken for a breach of the SHN.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) previously took action against 14 work pass holders and 15 employers for breaching leave of absence requirements implemented to tackle the virus.
Work passes for at least six of the workers have been revoked and they are permanently banned from working here, while the employers had their work pass privileges suspended.
MOM has also revoked the work passes of 11 workers for breaching entry approval requirements, and the workers have been repatriated and permanently banned from working in Singapore.
The work pass privileges of their employers have also been suspended.