Singapore has quarantined one traveller as a close contact of two passengers on Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) Johannesburg flight who had tested positive for coronavirus variant Omicron on arrival in Sydney, local media reported on Tuesday. The traveller, along with six others, had disembarked from SIA’s SQ481 which departed from Johannesburg on November 27 and arrived at Singapore’s Changi Airport on the same day.
The six other passengers who disembarked in Singapore are on a 10-day stay-home notice at a dedicated facility where they will be tested for the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday night. The pilots and the crew who operated the flight will self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19, an SIA spokesperson told Channel News Asia.
It stressed that most of the travellers on the flight had remained in the transit area at Changi Airport until their departure on flight SQ211 bound for Sydney, Australia on November 28, and that they had not entered Singapore or visited other areas in the airport. Contact tracing is ongoing for airport staff who may have come into transient contact with the cases, TODAY newspaper quoted the MOH as saying.
Earlier on Monday, the New South Wales Health Ministry (NSW Health) said that both passengers, who tested positive on arrival in Sydney from southern Africa on SIA flight SQ211, were fully vaccinated and have been isolated in special health accommodation. “Everyone on the flight is considered a close contact and will need to get tested immediately for COVID-19 and isolated for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status," media reports had quoted NSW Health as saying.
The SIA spokesperson said the airline is unable to reveal any information about the passengers because of customer confidentiality and that it will assist health authorities in “all necessary contact tracing efforts". “Singapore Airlines will work with the authorities, and be guided by the relevant regulatory requirements, as it ensures the health and safety of our customers and staff members," he added.
The travellers’ pre-departure tests in South Africa on November 26 were negative for COVID-19. From 11.59 pm on November 27, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with travel history within the last 14 days to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have not been allowed to enter or transit in Singapore.
Meanwhile, Singapore reported 1,103 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths as of noon Monday. So far, Singapore has reported 263,486 COVID-19 cases and 710 deaths since the start of the pandemic.