Husband of SIA cabin crew member tests positive for COVID-19, did not report developing symptoms during quarantine

Husband of SIA cabin crew member tests positive for COVID-19, did not report developing symptoms during quarantine

National Centre for Infections Diseases (NCID) Singapore
An ambulance enters the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore on Apr 3, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's sole community COVID-19 case on Monday (Feb 22) did not report symptoms that he developed while in quarantine, despite being identified as a close contact of an earlier case.

The 43-year-old Singaporean man, known as Case 60389, is the husband of a Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew member whose COVID-19 infection was confirmed on Feb 9 after she was on a turnaround flight to the United Arab Emirates.

READ: SIA cabin crew member might have been infected on flight, 4 passengers also tested positive for COVID-19: MOH

He works as an event planner but has not been at work since Feb 1, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The man was placed in quarantine on Feb 9, and his swab taken that day tested negative for COVID-19, said the ministry.

He developed "anosmia", or loss of smell, on Feb 15 during quarantine but did not report his symptom, said MOH.

"On Feb 20, he developed a fever and self-medicated, again without informing MOH of his symptoms," said the ministry.

The next day, the man was tested for COVID-19 as part of MOH's protocol to test individuals in quarantine. His test came back positive and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection, said MOH.

The man's wife had tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain of the coronavirus - the more contagious strain first detected in the United Kingdom - and was pending further confirmatory tests when her infection was reported by MOH on Feb 9.

On Monday, the ministry said that the man has been tested for the B117 strain, and that the result is pending.

"Individuals on quarantine or stay-home notice are required to declare any symptoms promptly, and to report their health status to MOH every day. They are provided with a list of COVID-19 symptoms to look out for, as well as reporting instructions, at the start of their isolation period," said the Health Ministry. 

"We remind these individuals to be socially responsible and to report their symptoms promptly, even if these are early/mild."


The man's wife, known as Case 60102, might have been infected on board a turnaround flight to the UAE, said MOH on Feb 9, when she tested positive for COVID-19.

Four passengers who were on the same flight had also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain.

The 41-year-old SIA cabin crew member left Singapore on a turnaround flight to the UAE on Jan 30 and returned on Jan 31 without disembarking from the aircraft, according to MOH.

The woman did not interact with any infected passengers on the flight, but may have come into close contact with cleaners who came on board the aircraft during the turnaround in Dubai, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) told CNA on Feb 12.

READ: SIA crew member infected with COVID-19 did not interact with passengers; possible 'close contact' with cleaners in Dubai: CAAS

As with all crew members of Singapore carriers, the woman was not required to be put on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, said CAAS.

The authority said it works with MOH to put in place stringent policies to protect air crew members and minimise their risk of exposure to COVID-19 during their duty on board aircraft.

These measures include minimising interaction between crew members and passengers, and wearing personal protective equipment at all times.

On Feb 2, Case 60102 received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

MOH said that she could not have been infected due to the vaccination as the vaccine does not contain live virus.

"It is possible for one to be infected just before or just after vaccination as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination," said MOH.

On Feb 4, the woman developed anosmia but did not seek medical attention. On Feb 7, she was tested for COVID-19 as part of CAAS' requirement for air crew to be tested following their return from overseas.

Her pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases for an individual swab and isolated.

She was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on Feb 9. Her serology test result also came back negative.

Singapore reported a total of 10 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, bringing the nation's tally to 59,879 cases.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak:

Source: CNA/dv