COVID-19: Patients flouting 5-day MC face jail or fine if they leave home

Patients waiting to be attended by doctors at a polyclinic medical centre in Singapore. (Photo by: Majority World/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Patients waiting to be attended by doctors at a polyclinic. (Universal Images Group via Getty Images file photo)

SINGAPORE — Patients who are issued a five-day medical leave by a medical practitioner certifying that they have acute respiratory symptoms are not allowed to leave their homes starting on the day the certificate is issued, according to an update on the Infectious Diseases Act.

The update, made by the Ministry of Health (MOH), was first published in the electronic edition of the government gazette on Wednesday (25 March) at 7.15 pm.

Those who do not comply and leave their homes during the five-day period can face a maximum fine of $10,000 or a maximum jail term of six months, or both. They can only leave their homes to seek medical attention.

The ministry had on 14 February advised healthcare professionals to give five-day medical certificates to patients with respiratory symptoms – such as fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose – to reduce possible community transmission of the virus.

Patients who do not recover within five days will be referred for further assessment and tests. The ministry also advised them to return to the same doctor to seek further treatment, should their symptoms persist or deteriorate.

“We urge all individuals and employers to cooperate, and follow strictly the five-day MC regime that has been put in place,” said the MOH then.

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