Airport frontline worker, 24, could be S'pore's first local case of Omicron variant

MOH is conducting aggressive contact tracing to ringfence the cases.

Fiona Tan | December 10, 2021, 12:49 AM

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Dec. 10 that two more people have preliminarily tested positive for the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Singapore.

One of them is a local case while the other is imported.

MOH said both cases are recovering in isolation wards at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Here are more details about the two cases.

Possibly the first local case of Omicron variant

One of the new Omicron Covid-19 case is a 24-year-old female Singaporean, who works as a passenger service staff at Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3.

She had also worked at the transit holding area, where she may have interacted with transit passengers from Omicron-affected countries, MOH said.

However, she did not work at Terminal 4 where three earlier cases of Omicron infections had been to.

The woman tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec. 8 during her weekly Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) for border frontline workers.

Her polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result revealed the presence of S-gene Target Failure, which may be associated with the Omicron variant.

MOH said she was asymptomatic when detected through RRT, and may have been in the early stages of infection.

After she was notified of her positive test result, MOH said she self-isolated at home until she was conveyed to NCID.

The National Public Health Laboratory is conducting whole genome sequencing to confirm the variant.

Imported case from Germany

The second Omicron Covid-19 case reported today is a 46-year-old female Singapore Permanent Resident.

She returned to Singapore via a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) from Germany on board SQ325 on Dec. 6, and her on-arrival PCR test came back negative.

She developed a runny nose on Dec. 7 and she sought medical treatment on Dec. 8. On the same day, she tested positive for Covid-19 infection.

Following which, she was confirmed to have S-gene Target Failure on Dec. 9.

Contact tracing ongoing for both cases

MOH said both cases are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shots.

The ministry added that they are conducting aggressive contact tracing to ringfence the cases.

All close contacts of the cases will be placed on 10-day quarantine at designated facilities and undergo PCR tests at the start and end of their quarantine.

As an additional precautionary measure, MOH said all airport staff will be required to conduct daily antigen rapid tests for the next seven days, on top of the PCR test that airport staff are required to take every seven days.

MOH said Singapore should expect to find more Omicron cases at our borders and also within the community given Omicron's high transmissibility and spread to many parts of the world.

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Top image via Changi Airport website