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NParks landscaper who tested positive for COVID-19 linked to Changi Airport cluster

NParks landscaper who tested positive for COVID-19 linked to Changi Airport cluster

The transit area of Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Aug 3, 2020. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

SINGAPORE: A National Parks Board (NParks) landscaper who tested positive for COVID-19 last week has been linked to the COVID-19 cluster at Changi Airport, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (May 12).

Epidemiological investigations showed that Case 63005, an NParks landscaper who was confirmed to have COVID-19 on May 8, had been at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on May 3 and May 4.

He visited the same locations as Cases 62940 and 62942 - a cleaner and safety coordinator who work at Terminal 3 - during their infectious period.

"He was likely to have been infected while he was at Changi Airport Terminal 3," said MOH.

Seven new community cases reported on Wednesday were also linked to the cluster. Of these, three tested primarily positive for the B1617 variant that was first detected in India, said MOH.

SEVEN NEW CASES

The first case, Case 63091, is a 24-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Huawei Enterprise as an IT engineer.

He works at Changi Airport Terminal 4, but had been at Terminal 3 on Apr 28 and May 3. He had not gone to work after the onset of symptoms.

He developed a fever on May 7, which subsided on the same day with self-medication, MOH said. His fever returned the following night and he resolved it with self-medication again.

On May 9, he sought medical help at a general practitioner clinic and was diagnosed with tonsillitis. He developed a fever later on the same day and sought treatment at another GP clinic that evening.

READ: Jewel Changi Airport, Terminals 1 and 3 to be closed to public as COVID-19 testing continues

He was tested for COVID-19 at the clinic and confirmed to have COVID-19 on May 11. His serology test result is pending.

The second case, Case 63094, is a 39-year-old Singaporean who works as an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

He is asymptomatic and was detected when he was tested on May 9 as part of rostered routine testing.

His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day, and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on May 10, where an individual test was done. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 the next day.

His earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on Apr 12  – were all negative for COVID-19 infection. 

His serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection. 

Case 63094 received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 17, and the second dose on Feb 7. He has tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The third case, Case 63095, is a 38-year-old Singaporean woman who works as an ICA officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3. She was also detected as part of rostered routine testing on May 9. 

Her pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day and she was taken to NCID on the same day, where an individual test was done. 

Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 on May 11. She developed a runny nose on the same day.

Her earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on Apr 15 – were all negative. Her serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection. 

Case 63095 received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 30, and the second dose on Feb 20. She has also tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, and is pending further confirmatory tests.

READ: Anytime Fitness in Choa Chu Kang, Haidilao in VivoCity visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

The fourth case, Case 63097, is a 62-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner and trolley handler at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

He had been identified as a contact of Case 62940 - a 47-year-old cleaner who is also employed by the same company and works at Terminal 3 - and placed on quarantine on May 8.

The next day, he developed a runny nose during quarantine. He was tested for COVID-19 on May 10, and his test result came back positive on May 11. His serology test result is pending.

Case 63097 received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 22 and the second dose on Feb 14.

The fifth case, Case 63098, is a 28-year-old Singaporean man employed by Certis Cisco as an aviation security officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3. He had not gone to work after the onset of symptoms.

He developed a fever, sore throat and body aches on May 7. The next day, he sought medical treatment at a polyclinic, where he was tested for COVID-19. 

He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on May 11.

His earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on May 3 – were all negative for COVID-19. His serological test result is pending.

The sixth case, Case 63100, is a 65-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

He developed a runny nose on May 6, but did not seek medical treatment. He was placed on quarantine on May 9 after he was also identified as a close contact of Case 62873 - the 88-year-old man who was the first identified case in the cluster - but did not report his symptom. 

He was tested for COVID-19 on May 11 during quarantine and developed a headache and runny nose. 

His test result came back positive on the same day. His serology test result is negative. 

Case 63100 received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 25, and the second dose on Feb 18. He has tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The seventh case, Case 63109, is a 42-year-old Singaporean man who works as a sales associate at a retail store at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

He developed a cough and itchy throat on May 9 while at work and sought medical treatment at a GP clinic the next day. 

He was given five days’ medical leave, and was tested for COVID-19 on May 11. 

His test result came back positive on May 12. His earlier tests from RRT – the last being on Apr 14 – were all negative and his serology test result is pending. 

Case 63109 received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Feb 28, and the second dose on Mar 21.

FREE COVID-19 TESTING

Amid the rise in cases in the Changi Airport cluster, MOH will offer free COVID-19 testing for members of the public who had visited Terminal 3 from May 3 onwards.

The ministry will inform affected individuals through SMS on how they can book an appointment for their test.

It also advised all visitors to Terminal 1 and Jewel Changi Airport from May 3 onwards to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit.

"They are strongly encouraged to visit a regional screening centre or 'swab and send home' public health preparedness clinic for a free COVID-19 test if they feel unwell," MOH added.

READ: 10 new community COVID-19 cases, including 7 linked to Changi Airport cluster

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 for the disease.

The cluster has since expanded to include the family members and household contacts of earlier cases who work at the airport.

Victoria Junior College student who tested positive for the virus on May 7 has also since been linked to the Changi Airport cluster.

She had visited the Kopitiam food court at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on May 3, the same day as two other cases in the cluster, said MOH in an update on her case on Tuesday.

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

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) said last 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.

While the special testing operation is ongoing, the passenger terminal buildings will be closed to the public from May 13 to May 27, said CAAS and CAG on Wednesday.

Only passengers with air tickets and essential airport workers will be able to access the passenger terminals during this period.

Jewel Changi Airport will also be closed for 14 days, they said.

"We urge all airport workers as well as staff working in Jewel to refrain from going out except for essential work or activities for the next 14 days," MOH said on Wednesday.

"They should also not be redeployed to other workplaces or outlets during this period."

As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,419 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities.

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Source: CNA/ga

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