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Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster grows after Certis Cisco officer, Raffles Medical employee test positive

Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster grows after Certis Cisco officer, Raffles Medical employee test positive

FILE PHOTO: A view of an empty departure hall at Singapore's Changi Airport, Singapore January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE: Two more people who work at Changi Airport - a Raffles Medical employee and a Certis Cisco aviation security officer - have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of infections linked to the cluster there to 10.

The two cases at Changi Airport were among the 19 new COVID-19 infections reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (May 10).

The first case reported on Monday is a 44-year-old Singaporean who works as an operations officer at Raffles Medical, located at Changi Airport Terminal 3. 

The man, known as Case 63047, developed a blocked nose on May 9 but did not seek medical treatment, said the Health Ministry. 

He was swabbed on the same day as part of MOH’s special COVID-19 testing operations for all workers in Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3, as well as Jewel Changi Airport. 

His test result came back positive on May 10 and he was taken in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His serology test result is pending.

The man received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Feb 23 and the second dose on Mar 16.

READ: New COVID-19 cluster linked to cleaner at Changi Airport

The other case, a 59-year-old Singaporean man, is employed by Certis Cisco as an aviation security officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3. The man's job entails security screening at the departure hall.

Known as Case 63055, the man developed a cough on May 5 but did not seek medical treatment until May 7, when he visited a general practitioner clinic. He was given three days’ medical leave and advised to remain at home. 

On the night of May 8, he sought medical treatment at another general practitioner clinic as he had not recovered, and was tested for COVID-19 the next day. 

His result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on May 10 and he was taken in an ambulance to NCID. His earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on May 4 – were all negative for COVID-19 infection.

READ: 3 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including two linked to Changi Airport cluster

His serological test result is pending. Case 63055 received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 25 and the second dose on Feb 15.

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 seven other cases in the cluster include three cleaners, a Certis Cisco officer, a SATS passenger escort, a safety coordinator and an aviation officer.

CHANGI AIRPORT STEPS UP COVID-19 PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

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

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

In a press release on Sunday night, CAAS and CAG called the situation "worrying", and said that while 92 per cent of frontline aviation workers have been vaccinated, the risk of infection remains.

As such, all vaccinated frontline airport workers will now be tested every 14 days, instead of every 28 days, they said.

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

READ: About 9,000 to be tested as Changi Airport steps up COVID-19 precautionary measures

Additionally, Basement 2 of Changi Airport Terminal 3 will be temporarily closed from Monday, because several of the COVID-19 cases had visited outlets there, the authorities said.

Other than deep cleaning, workers in these food and beverage and retail outlets also need to test negative for COVID-19 before the outlets are allowed to reopen.

When reopened, they can only provide takeaways to airport staff members. Dining-in will only be allowed in special allocated areas for airport workers who are cannot eat their meals in their place of work.

As of Monday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,378 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities.

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Source: CNA/vc/zl

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