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Singapore

British Airways working closely with Singapore authorities over monkeypox case

SINGAPORE: British Airways said on Wednesday (Jun 22) that it is working closely with Singapore health authorities after the country confirmed one imported case of monkeypox.

It was responding to CNA’s queries on British media reports that an entire aircrew from the airline was quarantined after a cabin member tested positive for the disease.

The Daily Mail reported that two pilots and nine cabin crew members have all been put in quarantine for 21 days. The crew had been on the flight from London to Sydney, which goes via Singapore. 

“We’re working closely with the Singapore Health Authorities and have offered assistance with any information they require,” said British Airways in a statement. 

“We’re in contact with our crew and providing the necessary support.”

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday confirmed one imported case of monkeypox infection in Singapore, a 42-year-old British national who works as a flight attendant. 

The man was in Singapore between Jun 15 and Jun 17, and again on Jun 19 as he flew in and out of Singapore, said MOH. He tested positive for monkeypox on Jun 20. 

He had an onset of headache on Jun 14 and a fever on Jun 16. These symptoms later resolved, and he then developed skin rashes on Jun 19.

The man sought medical attention via teleconsultation on the night of Jun 19, and was then taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Jun 20 for further assessment.

The man is currently warded at NCID and his condition is stable, said MOH. Contact tracing is ongoing. 

“Contact tracing is ongoing for the affected flights and for the duration of his stay in Singapore. During this period, he had largely remained in his hotel room, except to visit a massage establishment, and eat at three food establishments on Jun 16,” the Health Ministry added. 

All four locations visited by the man were also undergoing cleaning and disinfection. 

As of Jun 21, a total of 13 close contacts have been identified. All close contacts will be placed in quarantine for 21 days since their last contact with the case, said MOH. 

In addition, two low-risk contacts were placed on phone surveillance. 

In response to CNA's queries, a British High Commission spokesperson said on Friday that it has offered consular support to a British national in Singapore and is in touch with the local authorities.

Earlier in June, a traveller who transited through Singapore to Australia tested positive for monkeypox. The man departed from Barcelona on Jun 1 and arrived at Changi Airport the following day.

He remained in the transit holding area at Changi Airport until his departure for Sydney on the same day. He did not visit other areas in Changi Airport, said MOH. 

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in May that it should not be a surprise if Singapore detects a monkeypox case in the coming weeks, as people in the country travel widely and also due to its position as a commercial and international hub. 

However, he assured that Singapore has in place the necessary protocols and public health measures, triggered by an imported case in 2019.

Source: CNA/lk(zl)

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