Swabbing under way at Changi Airport, where Covid-19 cluster now linked to 10 cases

People seen entering and queueing at the swabbing facility at Changi Airport's Terminal 4 on May 10, 2021. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Barricades being set up to bar the public from entering the B2 level at Changi Airport Terminal 3, on May 10, 2021. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Airport workers turned up at Changi Airport on Monday morning (May 10) for a special Covid-19 testing operation for about 9,000 workers, to find hidden cases.

This comes after four workers were reported to have Covid-19 on Sunday (May 9). Another two cases reported on Monday took the number of cases linked to the Changi Airport cluster to 10.

All workers at the airport's operating terminals will be tested, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) on Sunday night.

Food and beverage and retail outlets at Basement 2 of Terminal 3 (T3) have also been closed to the public as of Monday, and all staff also have to test negative for Covid-19 before their outlets are allowed to reopen.

Some airport staff said they had been notified only on Monday morning about the swabbing exercise.

The first case in this cluster was detected last Wednesday (May 5), when an 88-year-old cleaner tested positive for Covid-19.

Certis Cisco staff and construction workers were among those lining up at the swabbing facility at Terminal 4 on Monday morning.

People were seen arriving on shuttle buses from Terminal 3 and public buses.

An airport worker member who had been swabbed told The Straits Times: "I am worried but I'm glad that I can be swabbed immediately.

"Hopefully my results will come out negative," said the 35-year-old, who declined to be named.

Vaccinated front-line airport workers, who were earlier placed on 28-day rostered routine testing, will now be tested every 14 days instead.

"Whilst 92 per cent of front-line aviation workers have been vaccinated, the risk of infection remains", CAAS and CAG said.

Eight of the ten people linked to the Changi Airport cluster are fully vaccinated.

Four cases in the cluster were cleaners from Ramky Cleantech Services, the main cleaning contractor for T3. The company has been placed on a 14-day "safety time-out" from Monday.

As several Covid-19 cases had visited outlets in T3's Basement 2, the floor has been closed to the public from Monday, pending MOH's investigations.

Cleaners cleaning at B2 level at Changi Airport Terminal 3, on May 10, 2021. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

When food and beverage and retail outlets in T3's Basement 2 reopen, they will be allowed to provide take-away orders only to airport staff. Dining in will not be allowed, except in special allocated areas for airport workers who are unable to consume their meals at their place of work, said CAAS and CAG on Sunday night.

CAG said it will be contacting affected tenants directly. During this period, menus from the affected outlets may not be available on Changi Eats, Changi Airport's food delivery service.

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