Defiance of COVID-19 containment measures “calls for swift and decisive response” from authorities: K Shanmugam, on Chinese national whose PR status renewal application was denied

K Shanmugam: While the Government's refusal to approve the renewal the 45-year-old man's PR status may seem "harsh" to some, such measures signal the need for "everyone to cooperate" in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak

The Government’s refusal to allow the renewal of the permanent resident (PR) status of a Chinese national who had breached the Stay-at-Home Notice (SHN) issued against him stems from the need for a “swift and decisive response”, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam.

Mr Shanmugam in a Facebook post on Thursday (27 Feb) said that the prompt response, while it may be harsh to some, was necessary in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, as it sends a signal to the public that the authorities “need everyone to cooperate” with COVID-19 containment measures.

“People need to know that we will not hesitate to take strong action,” he said.

The Minister also pointed out that the 45-year-old Chinese national — who had travelled to China recently — had “wilfully disregarded his SHN, which required him to remain at home at all times for 14 days”.

“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,” added Mr Shanmugam.

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) yesterday said that the man was spotted trying to leave Singapore last Sunday (23 Feb), and insisted on departing despite being warned that he had breached the notice requirements.

As a result, the man’s application for the renewal of his re-entry permit — which allows his PR status to be retained while outside of Singapore — was rejected by ICA. The man is also barred from re-entering Singapore.

“The Government will continue to conduct regular random checks through house visits and phone calls to ensure compliance with the Stay-Home Notice, so that the well-being of the community is not put at risk,” noted ICA.

ICA warned that Singapore PRs who fails to comply with the SHNs may be prosecuted under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act, and will have their re-entry permit or passes revoked.

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