Coronavirus: 87 Singaporeans evacuated from Wuhan complete 14-day quarantine

92 Singaporeans were evacuated from Wuhan on a specially arranged Scoot flight on Jan 30, 2020. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SINGAPORE - The first 87 of 92 Singaporeans evacuated from Wuhan on a specially arranged Scoot flight on Jan 30 returned to their own homes on Thursday (Feb 13) after completing a 14-day quarantine.

The remaining five were found to be infected with the new coronavirus, but two have fully recovered and are now discharged from hospital, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday.

Referring to those who have completed their quarantine, MOH said: "As they have passed the 14-day incubation period for Covid-19 disease and are well, no further measures are needed after the end of quarantine."

Budget carrier Scoot said in a separate statement that the crew who volunteered for the flight have also completed a 14-day leave of absence (LOA) and have all returned to work on Friday.

Scoot used to fly directly to Wuhan, where the outbreak of the coronavirus originated, on a daily basis. But it suspended the route from Jan 23 after the outbreak grew more severe.

The suspension was subsequently expanded to all other Scoot flights to mainland China from Feb 8. The flights are expected to resume around end-March.

The Jan 30 flight to Wuhan was the first of two specially arranged flights to evacuate Singaporeans there.

A second flight departed the Chinese city on Feb 9, bringing 174 Singaporeans and their family members home.

Business development manager David Cher, 40, who was on the first Scoot flight back, told The Straits Times that he and other Scoot passengers on the that flight left their quarantine centre at the Civil Service Club @ Changi II resort at about noon on Thursday.

"Some officials came to our rooms and let us sign a few documents and gave us a blue paper with our name on it," said Mr Cher.

"After we received the paper, we walked out to the gate and showed the guards the paper, and we all left by ourselves from there."

Mr Cher said the whole process went smoothly, and that most of the evacuees left without interacting with each other. While in quarantine, their temperature was recorded three times a day.

He is now looking forward to returning to work and reuniting with his family.

His Chinese national wife and two children - a two-year-old son and eight-month-old daughter - are still serving out their quarantine, having returned only on the second Scoot flight from Wuhan on Feb 9.

Mr Cher said he felt well throughout the entire quarantine period and was confident that he had not been infected.

"I want to return to work. It has been too boring already after not working for a month," he said.

"But I will be working from outside the office until the end of the month. The staff are still a bit worried and told me not to go back first."

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