Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster grows as family members, household contacts of previous cases test positive

Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster grows as family members, household contacts of previous cases test positive

People in masks at Changi Airport 15
Changi Airport staff members wearing personal protective equipment assist travellers at the check-in counters. (File photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Seven new cases, including household contacts and family members of previous cases, were on Tuesday (May 11) linked to a cluster of COVID-19 infections at Changi Airport.

A Victoria Junior College student who tested positive last week was also linked on Tuesday to the cluster at the airport, taking the total number of cases in the cluster to 18.

Of the seven new cases, four have tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, which was first detected in India.

The first new case reported on Tuesday is a 63-year-old Singaporean man, known as Case 63059, employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

He developed a cough and flu-like symptoms on the night of May 7 but did not seek medical treatment, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Two days later, he was tested as part of MOH's proactive testing of staff working at the Changi Airport Terminal 3, but did not report his symptoms when contacted by MOH.

He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on May 10. His earlier tests from rostered routine testing - the last being on Apr 13 - were all negative. His serology test result is positive.

The man received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 25 and the second on Feb 15.

He also tested "preliminarily positive" for the B1617 variant and is pending further confirmatory tests.

READ: 13 new community COVID-19 cases, including operating theatre technician at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital

The second new case, Case 63060, is a 55-year-old Singaporean woman who works at M171 Gourmet Street Coffeeshop. She is the wife of Case 62945, an aviation officer at Changi Airport's Terminals 1 and 3.

As she was identified as a close contact of Case 62945, she was placed on quarantine on May 7 and was tested for COVID-19 two days later. She was confirmed positive on May 10, and her serology test result is negative.

may 11 changi cluster update kenny graphic

The third case, Case 63061, is a 43-year-old Chinese national who is a household contact of Case 62971, a cleaner at Changi Airport Terminal 3 who tested positive on May 8.

Case 63061 is employed by EM Services and deployed as a housekeeper at Changi General Hospital (CGH).

She was placed on quarantine on May 8 after being identified as a close contact of Case 62971. She developed a cough the next day and reported her symptom to MOH.

The woman was tested for COVID-19 and her result came back positive on May 10. Her serology test result is positive.

Case 63061 received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 20 and the second on Feb 10. She also tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant of the virus, and is pending confirmatory tests.

In a Facebook post early on Wednesday, Changi General Hospital said the housekeeper did not have direct interaction with patients.

She also followed "appropriate precautionary measures such as the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment while performing housekeeping duties", it added.

"Contact tracing and ongoing surveillance swab tests are in progress, and the necessary infection control measures, including terminal cleaning of the affected areas, have been taken to mitigate the risk of potential spread of infection here at CGH home campus," the hospital said.

"We remain on heightened vigilance to keep our patients, their family members and our staff safe. We will continue to provide our care and support to our patients and colleagues."

The fourth case, Case 63070, is a 56-year-old Malaysian man who works as a cleaner at Kopitiam food court at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and at Happy Hawkers at 267 Compassvale Link.

He developed a cough and sore throat on May 9 and sought medical treatment after work at Changi General Hospital. He was tested for COVID-19 and the result came back positive the next day. His serology test result is negative.

The fifth case, Case 63071, is a 46-year-old Chinese national who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner at Robinson 77. 

She is a household contact of Case 62971, another cleaner employed by Ramky Cleantech Services who works at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

As she had been identified as a close contact of a previous case, she was placed on quarantine on May 8. She developed a fever the next day and reported the symptom to MOH that night.

She was tested for COVID-19 on May 10 and confirmed to be positive on the same day.

Her serology test result is pending. She has also tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, pending further confirmatory tests.

READ: VJC student who tested positive for COVID-19 is linked to Changi Airport cluster

The sixth case, Case 63072, is a 40-year-old Malaysian man who is also employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a premises maintenance officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3. 

He was identified as a close contact of Case 63015, a cleaner employed by the same company and deployed at the terminal.

Case 63072 developed fatigue on May 8 and a cough the next day, but did not seek medical treatment, said MOH.

As he was identified as a close contact of a previous case, he was placed on quarantine on May 9 and he reported his symptoms to MOH.

He was tested for COVID-19 on May 9, and his result came back positive a day later. His serology test result is pending.

He received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 22 and the second on Feb 15. He has also tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant of the virus, and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The seventh new case, Case 63074, is a 33-year-old Singaporean woman who works as an administrative staff member at SBY Frozen Food Supply. She has been working from home for the past few months, said MOH.

She is a family member and household contact of Case 63055, who is an aviation security officer employed by Certis Cisco and works at Changi Airport Terminal 3. 

She developed a runny nose on May 9 and reported her symptom when she was contacted by MOH after being identified as a close contact.

While in quarantine, she was tested for COVID-19 on May 9. Her test result came back positive the next day. Her serology test result is negative.

MOH also said on Tuesday that a Victoria Junior College student who tested positive for the virus last week has been linked to the Changi Airport cluster.

She had been at Raffles Medical at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Apr 23, Apr 30 and May 3. She also visited Kopitiam food court at Terminal 3's Basement 2 on May 3.

"Based on our investigations, Cases 62942 and 62945 had also visited the same food court on May 3. She was likely to have been infected while she was at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on May 3," said MOH.

READ: Tighter COVID-19 measures important as Singapore is on knife-edge: Lawrence Wong

The first infection in the cluster at Changi Airport was detected on May 5, when an 88-year-old man who works as a cleaner at Terminal 3 tested positive.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) said on Sunday that all workers in Changi Airport’s operating terminals will be tested for COVID-19 in a special testing operation.

About 9,000 workers from Terminal 1, Terminal 3 and Jewel Changi Airport will undergo these tests. Terminal 2 is not open.

All vaccinated frontline airport workers will also be tested every 14 days as part of rostered routine testing, up from the 28 days previously.

The main cleaning contractor for Changi Airport Terminal 3 has been placed on a "safety time-out" for 14 days since Monday, while the airport’s main security service provider will step up its safe management measures, they said.

Basement 2 of Changi Airport Terminal 3 has been closed temporarily since Monday after several COVID-19 cases visited outlets there, the authorities said.

As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,403 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities.

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Source: CNA/vc

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