Changi Airport employee among 2 new cases who test preliminarily positive for Omicron

Both cases are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shots. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Two Covid-19 cases who tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant have been detected.

One of them is a front-line worker at Changi Airport- the first local case - and the other is an imported case, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Dec 9).

Both cases are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shots. One is asymptomatic while the other has mild symptoms, MOH added.

The front-line worker is a 24-year-old Singaporean woman who is a passenger service staff member at Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3. She also worked in the transit holding area, where MOH said she may have interacted with transit passengers from Omicron-affected countries.

She did not work at Terminal 4, where three cases of Omicron infections had visited earlier.

The woman tested for Covid-19 on Dec 8 as part of weekly rostered routine testing for border front-line workers and her polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result revealed traces linked to the Omicron variant.

Upon receiving the news, she self-isolated at home until she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

MOH added that the National Public Health Laboratory is conducting tests to confirm the variant.

The second case is a 46-year-old woman, a permanent resident who returned to Singapore via a vaccinated travel lane from Germany on Dec 6.

Her pre-departure test in France on Dec 4 and her PCR test in Singapore on Dec 6 were negative for the coronavirus, but she developed a runny nose a day later and sought medical attention.

She tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec 8 and was confirmed to have signs of the Omicron variant the next day.

Contact tracing for both cases is under way and MOH said all close contacts will be placed on a 10-day quarantine at designated facilities and undergo testing.

All airport staff are already PCR-tested every week and as an additional precautionary measure, they will undergo daily antigen rapid tests for the next seven days.

"Given its high transmissibility and spread to many parts of the world, we should expect to find more Omicron cases at our borders and also within our community," said MOH.

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A total of 682 new Covid-19 infections and five deaths were reported in Singapore on Thursday (Dec 9).

Overall, there were 649 new cases in the community, 16 in migrant worker dormitories and 17 imported cases reported on Thursday.

MOH did not provide more details on the five deaths that were reported on Thursday.

The latest deaths take the total number of Covid-19 fatalities in Singapore to 779.

The total number of cases in Singapore now stands at 271,979.

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