SINGAPORE: A Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew member who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday (Feb 9) might have been infected on board a flight, after four passengers on the same plane were also found to have the disease, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The SIA crew member, a 41-year-old Singaporean woman, was one of the 11 new imported COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore on Tuesday.
She has also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain of the coronavirus, and is pending further confirmatory tests.
The four passengers who were on the same flight have also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain.
"In view of her recent travel history, and the possibility that she might have been infected on board the flight, we have preliminarily classified this case as imported," said MOH.
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CABIN CREW MEMBER WORKED TURNAROUND FLIGHT TO UAE
The Singaporean woman, identified as Case 60102, left Singapore on a turnaround flight to the United Arab Emirates on Jan 30, and returned on Feb 1 without disembarking from the aircraft.
Three days later, she developed "anosmia", or the loss of smell, but did not seek medical attention, said MOH.
On Feb 7, she was tested for COVID-19 as part of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s 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 has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection, said MOH.
Her previous test on Jan 22 following another turnaround flight was negative for COVID-19.
CABIN CREW MEMBER RECEIVED FIRST DOSE OF VACCINE
Case 60102 received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Feb 2, a day after touching down in Singapore and two days before the onset of symptoms.
MOH said that she could not have been infected due to 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.
Epidemiological investigations are ongoing. In the meantime, all the woman's identified close contacts, including her family members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed in quarantine, said MOH.
They will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period. Serological tests will also be done for her close contacts to determine if she could have been infected by them.
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ALL 4 PASSENGERS ARE DEPENDANT'S PASS HOLDERS
All four passengers who were on the same UAE flight as the SIA crew member are dependant’s pass holders who are Indian nationals.
Case 59885 is a 31-year-old woman who developed symptoms on Jan 30 and tested positive for COVID-19 the next day. She is a contact of Case 59902, a one-year-old boy who tested positive on Feb 1.
Case 59893 is a 34-year-old woman who was asymptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb 1. She is a contact of Case 59901, a three-year-old girl who also tested positive on Feb 1.
As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,732 COVID-19 cases, with 29 fatalities.