Cabby kept on working, drove multiple passengers despite having MC for respiratory infection

Samuel Devaraj
The Straits Times
Nov 2, 2022

A taxi driver who was given a medical certificate (MC) for five days as he had symptoms that could indicate a Covid-19 infection did not stay home but continued working, driving multiple passengers to their destinations.

Ho Kieh Lueh, 66, was jailed for 12 weeks on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to two charges under the Infectious Diseases Act. Three other charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim said Ho visited First Medical Clinic and Surgery in Woodlands Street 11 on July 20, 2020, complaining of a sore throat and phlegm.

The doctor diagnosed him with acute respiratory infection after examining him. He told Ho that he would be giving him an MC for five days and that he was required by law to remain at home during that period.

The doctor also said he would refer Ho to take a swab test to ascertain whether he had Covid-19.

Ho collected his prescribed medicine after leaving the consultation room, but when the clinic assistant issued his MC, he refused to accept it and got into an argument with her.

Even though the doctor explained to Ho that he was required to remain at home for the duration of the MC as he was diagnosed with acute respiratory infection, Ho refused to accept the MC or go for the swab test.

Ho left the clinic without paying for the consultation and did not collect his medication and MC.

Later that day, the doctor notified the Ministry of Health that Ho refused to accept the MC.

DPP Lim said that on that day and for the next four days, Ho continued driving the taxi and picked up numerous passengers despite having reason to believe that he might have contracted Covid-19.

On July 23, 2020, Ho picked up nine passengers between 5.21am and 12.40pm via bookings made on the Grab application.

This included a 32-minute trip from Jurong West to Expo Drive and a 21-minute trip from Bedok South to Lower Kent Ridge Road.

The next day, he picked up six passengers between 4.53am and 11.57am, including a 36-minute trip from Admiralty Drive to Stamford Road.

Ho asked the court for leniency.

For each charge under the Infectious Diseases Act, Ho could have been jailed for up to six months, fined up to $10,000, or both.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.