Singapore detects first 2 imported Covid-19 cases who test preliminarily positive for Omicron

Both cases were isolated upon arrival in Singapore on Dec 1, and had not interacted in the community. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Two imported Covid-19 cases have preliminarily tested positive for the Omicron variant on Thursday (Dec 2), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Both cases were isolated upon arrival in Singapore on Wednesday, and had no interaction with anyone in the community.

"There is currently no evidence of any community transmission from these cases," said MOH in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry added that both cases are currently recovering in isolation wards at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. They are fully vaccinated, and have mild symptoms of cough and scratchy throat.

Both cases arrived from Johannesburg on board Singapore Airlines flight SQ479 on Wednesday.

The first case is a 44-year-old Singapore permanent resident who was travelling from Mozambique and transited in Johannesburg.

He had tested negative for Covid-19 in his pre-departure test in Mozambique on Nov 29.

The second case is a 41-year-old Singaporean woman who travelled from South Africa.

She had tested negative for Covid-19 in her pre-departure test in Johannesburg on Nov 29.

"They had undergone a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore and were immediately conveyed to a stay-home notice (SHN) dedicated facility to be isolated while awaiting their test results," said MOH.

Their PCR test results revealed the presence of S-gene Target Failure, which may be associated with the Omicron variant, the ministry added.

MOH said the National Public Health Laboratory is conducting whole genome sequencing to confirm if the two cases had indeed contracted the Omicron variant.

Remote video URL

The remaining 19 passengers on the same flight have tested negative for Covid-19, said MOH, adding that contact tracing is ongoing.

All 19 were quarantined at designated facilities upon arrival and did a PCR test.

They will have to do another PCR test when their 10-day SHN is over.

Other close contacts will also be placed on 10-day quarantine and undergo PCR tests at the start and end of their quarantine, said MOH.

"All patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant will be sent to NCID for isolation and clinical management. Home recovery will not apply," the ministry added.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.