Coronavirus: Singapore

Home Team Academy training moves online following ICA case

All training activities conducted at the Home Team Academy (HTA) will move online for the next two weeks or be postponed until further notice, after an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer deployed there contracted Covid-19.

All ICA officers from its Training Command at HTA, including all trainees, will also be tested for Covid-19, while ICA's training activities have been suspended for two weeks. An ICA spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that the officers have also been instructed to stay home and monitor their health.

This comes after an ICA officer, who is an executive overseeing training policy at ICA Training Command, tested positive for Covid-19 last Saturday.

He had been in quarantine before testing positive as he is the brother and close contact of another Covid-19 patient and ICA officer.

"HTA has ceased using the affected areas and will be conducting thorough disinfection of these areas," said the spokesman, noting that disinfection will be done according to the National Environment Agency's guidelines.

"All common areas with heavy human traffic will also be disinfected. HTA is also facilitating Covid-19 swabs for Home Team staff and trainees who were at HTA during the period concerned."

The ICA officer deployed at HTA who tested positive for Covid-19 reported for duty on April 26, before he was placed on home quarantine order from April 27 to May 14.

The 32-year-old is the younger brother and household contact of another ICA officer, 38, who was deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and had tested positive on April 27.

The younger ICA officer's first swab test on April 28 was negative, but his second swab test last Saturday was positive for Covid-19. His serology test result is pending.

He had received the second dose of his Covid-19 vaccine on Feb 17.

ICA will continue to assist the Ministry of Health (MOH) with contact tracing, said the spokesman.

ICA also provided an update for some 130 officers at Changi Airport who were tested.

The first swab test results for 32 officers who were close contacts of the 38-year-old officer infected with Covid-19 have come back negative. Similarly, about 100 other officers who were tested as a precaution had negative results.

The ICA officer, a deputy team leader at Changi Airport, was deployed at the duty officer counter at Terminal 1, which processes arrival clearance for travellers.

ICA said on Sunday that operations at Changi Airport had been consolidated to Terminals 1 and 3, each of which has two arrival immigration halls and one departure immigration hall.

It said it deploys about 130 officers at each terminal per shift, and officers are not allowed to intermingle, or be cross deployed between terminals or between immigration halls within the same terminal.

Yesterday, the ICA spokesman said that since January last year, ICA has implemented precautionary measures at checkpoints and workplaces, including at training activities.

These measures are developed with MOH and include the appropriate protective gear, safe management measures, and frequent cleaning of checkpoint premises and immigration clearance counters.

Officers at the checkpoints also undergo routine tests for Covid-19.

The spokesman said that training sessions at HTA have been conducted with safe management guidelines, including temperature checks for all visitors, mandating that masks be worn at all times except when eating, drinking or doing strenuous exercise, and adhering to safe distancing during lessons. Common corridors and high-touch surfaces at HTA are also cleaned daily.

Other safe distancing measures include demarcating queue areas at places such as HTA's cookhouse and staggering mealtimes.

HTA's safe management inspectors also regularly conduct safety audits to ensure compliance with the measures.

"ICA will continue to review and update the safety measures in accordance with MOH guidelines," said the spokesman.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2021, with the headline 'Home Team Academy training moves online following ICA case'. Subscribe