Taxi driver who ferried passengers throughout pandemic regardless of having COVID-19 signs will get jail

SINGAPORE: A taxi driver who had COVID-19 signs and went to a health care provider in 2020 refused a swab take a look at and flouted an order to remain dwelling for 5 days, as an alternative heading out on daily basis to ferry passengers.

Ho Kieh Lueh, 66, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail on Wednesday (Nov 2) for his offences.

He pleaded responsible to 2 costs of exposing others to the chance of contracting COVID-19 from him. One other three costs have been considered.

The court docket heard that Ho went to a clinic on Jul 20, 2020 with signs corresponding to a sore throat and phlegm.

The physician identified him with an acute respiratory an infection and issued him a medical certificates for 5 days, telling him to stay at dwelling throughout that interval.

Nonetheless, Ho refused to simply accept the medical certificates from the clinic assistant and argued with the assistant. He additionally disregarded the physician’s directions to bear a swab take a look at.

To this point, it can’t be decided if Ho had COVID-19 on the time as he didn’t take a swab take a look at.

Ho then went on to work as a taxi driver on daily basis between Jul 20, 2020 and Jul 24, 2020, selecting up quite a few passengers.

On Jul 23, 2020, he picked up a complete of 9 passengers by way of bookings made on the Seize software. He picked up six passengers the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim requested for 12 to 14 weeks’ jail, saying deterrence was wanted. The chance of transmission was very excessive on this case, as Ho had signs related to COVID-19.

He did not adjust to orders to stay at dwelling and as an alternative ferried passengers, exposing them to the chance of COVID-19. The virus may have been unfold additional by way of the passengers, she stated.

As a taxi driver, Ho ought to have recognized and exercised extra social duty, however as an alternative flagrantly broke the principles, stated Ms Lim.

His refusal to take a swab take a look at signifies that “we’ll by no means know if he had COVID-19 on the materials time”, she stated.

In mitigation, Ho requested for leniency, saying he was outdated and had two kids in college.

He stated he didn’t dare to drive a taxi anymore after the incident and has a number of medical circumstances, making month-to-month visits to the hospital. He now works as a bus attendant.

District Decide Luke Tan instructed Ho that he was sick sufficient to see a health care provider, however disregarded his directions thereafter and even argued with the clinic assistant.

He stated he was a taxi driver, a public transport employee on the time. His job required him to work together with a bunch of individuals.

“Within the slim confines of your taxi, together with your signs, you interacted with them. You set them in danger,” stated Decide Tan.

“When you highlighted your individual age – 66 – and your well being circumstances, you possibly can properly have uncovered others who have been equally of aged age, and who might have had medical circumstances comparable and even worse than yours.”

He stated the sentence needed to be “sufficiently deterrent to just remember to and others do not go round doing issues like this, and even think about doing issues like this”.

Ho may have been jailed as much as six months, fined as much as S$10,000, or each.

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