SINGAPORE: Two people will be charged under the Infectious Diseases Act for giving false information to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and obstructing the conduct of contact tracing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Hu Jun, a 38-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan, and his wife Shi Sha, a 36-year-old Chinese national who lives in Singapore, were served charges on Tuesday (Feb 25), the ministry said in a news release on Wednesday.
Hu arrived in Singapore on Jan 22 and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Jan 31. Shi was identified as a close contact and quarantined on Feb 1.
However, MOH said the couple gave false information about their movements and whereabouts from Jan 22 to Jan 29 to health officials who were conducting contact tracing. Shi also provided false information while under quarantine, the ministry said.
“MOH was able to establish their true movements through detailed investigations,” it said.
“In view of the potentially serious repercussions of the false information given by the defendants, and the risk they could have posed to public health, MOH has served Hu and Shi charges."
The case will be heard in court on Feb 28.
If convicted under the Infectious Diseases Act, the couple face a fine of up to S$10,000 each, up to six months' jail, or both.
The ministry reminded the public that it is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act to withhold or provide inaccurate information to officials during contact tracing.
"MOH views such actions seriously and will not hesitate to take appropriate action against the perpetrators," it said.
It added that contact tracing is conducted to ensure close contacts are monitored and treated if they develop the disease and to contain the transmission of the virus.