Grab driver on MC refused to take swab test, continued to work

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read
A driver behind the wheel.
A driver behind the wheel. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A Grab driver who had upper respiratory tract infections not only refused to take a swab test, but continued to accept Grab bookings despite being placed on a five-day medical certificate.

Rahim Mahon, 63, went on to complete five bookings on 18 January last year.

Rahim was sentenced to five weeks’ jail on Tuesday (11 January) after he pleaded guilty to one out of two counts of exposing others to the risk of infection even though he had reason to suspect that he was a carrier of COVID-19. 

The remaining charge was taken into consideration for his sentencing.

On 15 January last year, Rahim visited Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic for a review of his urinary tract infection. His doctor asked if he had any other symptoms, and Rahim replied that he had had a cough for the past two days.

The doctor examined him and diagnosed him with an upper respiratory tract infection, a low grade fever and urinary symptoms. She informed Rahim that he would need to do a urine test for his urinary tract infection and take a COVID-19 swab test due to his symptoms.

He was told he would be issued a three-day medical certificate, during which he would not be allowed to leave his home. Before Rahim left the consultation room, the doctor informed him to return to the room to review his urine test and collect his MC and medication.

Refused to take swab test

After Rahim submitted his urine sample, he proceeded to the room for the swab test but refused to take it.

The doctor then told him that she would have to issue him a five-day MC from 15 to 19 January, if he refused to take a swab test.

Rahim expressed concerns that he would not be able to get food, and the doctor replied that the People's Association could assist him with necessities.

When Rahim still refused to take the test, the doctor issued him with a five-day MC and told him that he could not leave his home, even for work, or he could be prosecuted. Rahim was told to wait for his urine test results, but left the clinic without his results or his MC. He went home.

The clinic staff attempted to call Rahim but the calls were cut.

The next day, between 8.43am and 2.03pm, Rahim left his home and completed five Grab bookings, exposing his passengers to the risk of COVID-19 infection. The number of passengers he ferried was not stated in court documents.

In mitigation, Rahim pleaded for a lighter sentence and said he had an 86-year-old father to care for.

District Judge Eugene Teo took Rahim's lack of criminal record and the fact that he was taking responsibility for his actions in his favour. 

"I need to explain though that this is a serious case, others like you have gone to prison for this kind of breaches. We all need to take the measures to try and control the pandemic seriously. This (is) for everyone’s safety," he said. 

For exposing others to the risk of infection, Rahim could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000. 

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