China couple charged under Infectious Diseases Act for obstructing COVID-19 containment work
SINGAPORE: A man from Wuhan was charged on Friday (Feb 28), along with his wife, under the Infectious Diseases Act for obstructing the work of health officials containing the spread of COVID-19.
Hu Jun, a 38-year-old China national from Wuhan, was charged with one count of obstructing contact tracing.
Hu arrived in Singapore on Jan 22 and was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on Jan 31, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said earlier this week.
His wife Shi Sha, a 36-year-old China national who lives in Singapore, was given three charges of obstructing health officials' work and another charge of failing to comply with isolation conditions.
Hu, who turned up in court with a face mask on, is accused of hindering an MOH health officer at Singapore General Hospital on Feb 1.
The officer had required him to give her information about his whereabouts and activities between Jan 22 and Jan 29.
According to charge sheets, Hu gave false information to the officer, saying that he mostly stayed in a condominium unit at Loft @ Nathan in that period of time.
He also claimed he only had dinner at Ion Orchard on one day and took a walk around the neighbourhood at 31 Nathan Road in River Valley. This was allegedly false information.
Shi was issued with a quarantine order on Feb 1 after her husband was diagnosed, but is accused of not complying with it. She had been given an isolation order, which required her to stay at the couple's home in Loft @ Nathan from Jan 31 to Feb 12, but is said to have stayed at a hotel instead.
Charge sheets also stated she lied about the exact unit she had stayed in at the Loft @ Nathan and about taking a taxi from the residence to SGH.
Hu fully recovered from the infection and was discharged from hospital on Feb 19.
MOH said in a statement on Wednesday that both Hu and Shi had given false information to MOH officials about their movements and whereabouts between Jan 22 and Jan 29.
MOH officials had contacted the couple in order to carry out contact tracing, but Shi purportedly lied to them even when she was under quarantine.
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MOH was able to establish their true movements through detailed investigations, it said.
The prosecutor on Friday said he needed about two weeks to prepare for the case. Newly appointed defence lawyer Chung Ting Fai also said he needed time.
The judge adjourned the case to Mar 20.
If convicted of the charges, both husband and wife face penalties of up to six months' jail, a maximum S$10,000 fine, or both, per charge.
As of Thursday night, there were 96 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore. Of these, eight are in critical condition and 66 cases have fully recovered.