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Elderly man charged with refusing to comply with COVID-19 quarantine, saying doctor declared him 'fit'

Elderly man charged with refusing to comply with COVID-19 quarantine, saying doctor declared him 'fit'

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A 78-year-old man is accused of not complying with his quarantine order and hanging up repeatedly on officers who tried to serve the order.

Chew Suang Heng was given five charges under the Infectious Diseases Act on Friday (Jun 5), including four charges of hindering the medical officers' work.

Charge sheets state that Chew was to remain isolated in his Hougang flat between Feb 17 and Feb 28 as he was suspected to be a COVID-19 case, carrier or contact of a person with the coronavirus.

However, a CISCO officer was unable to serve him the quarantine order on Feb 18 at 11am, as he was not home, court documents said.

Chew allegedly said he had been "cleared" by his doctor and "did not need to be quarantined". 

When the officer called his mobile phone and asked Chew to return home to be served the quarantine order, Chew is accused of hanging up on him.

Later that night, another CISCO officer tried calling Chew to ask him to return home and receive the quarantine order.

However, Chew allegedly told him that he had seen his family doctor and was declared "fit", and did not have a fever or flu.

He questioned the officer on why he needed to be quarantined, told him it was his "private thing" and refused to reveal his whereabouts before hanging up, charge sheets state.

The next morning, a third CISCO officer tried calling Chew to get him to return home and receive his quarantine order.

During this call, Chew allegedly told the officer that he was "outside" but refused to reveal his exact location, told him that he was "okay" and fine" according to his doctor, and said he would call back later.

One of the officers called him later that day to ask him to return home, but Chew again terminated the call and refused to go home, according to charge sheets.

The quarantine order was eventually served on his wife at 2.30pm on Feb 19, ordering Chew to return home and be isolated in his flat, but he is accused of not doing so.

He will return to court on Jun 12.

The penalties for each charge are a jail term of up to six months, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

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Source: CNA/ll(gs)

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