Friday, 3 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: We will not hesitate to take strong action, says Shanmugam on those who flout containment measures

SINGAPORE – The authorities will not hesitate to take strong action against those who break the rules meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus here, said Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam on Thursday (Feb 27).

His comments come a day after it was announced that action had been taken against three Chinese nationals who flouted coronavirus containment measures here.

The first of the trio, a 45-year-old Singapore permanent resident (PR), breached his stay-home notice (SHN) requirements while he was here from Feb 20 to 23.

As a result, he was stripped of his PR status and barred from re-entering Singapore.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mr Shanmugam said: “He wilfully disregarded his SHN, which required him to remain at home at all times for 14 days. He was served with the SHN because he had travelled to China recently.

“He did not respond to phone calls and was also not at his declared residence when ICA officers conducted checks. He later insisted on leaving Singapore before the SHN was completed.”

He added: “Some people said that this may be a bit harsh. But the deliberate breaking of the rules, in the current situation, calls for swift and decisive response.”

The other two people, a China couple, have been accused of giving false information to Ministry of Health (MOH) officials and obstructing contact tracing.

The man, a 38-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan known as Hu Jun, is Case 16 here.

His wife, Shi Sha, is a 36-year-old Chinese national who lives here.

She was identified as a close contact and was issued a quarantine order on Feb 1, after the MOH initiated contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to the infected person while he was symptomatic.

But the couple allegedly gave false information about their movements and whereabouts from Jan 22 to 29 when they were contacted for contact tracing, with Shi also providing false information while under quarantine.

However, detailed investigations uncovered the couple’s true movements.

They are due to be charged on Friday under the Infectious Diseases Act.

“Contact tracing is an essential step in containing the virus,” wrote Mr Shanmugam.

“During this period we need everyone to cooperate. People need to know that we will not hesitate to take strong action,” he said.

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