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South Korea suspects traveller who tested positive for COVID-19 was infected during transit in Singapore: New Zealand

South Korea suspects traveller who tested positive for COVID-19 was infected during transit in Singapore: New Zealand

Changi Airport's Terminal 3's transit area during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: South Korean authorities have informed New Zealand that they suspect a traveller who tested positive for COVID-19 "was infected during the transit in Singapore airport", New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said on Monday (Jul 27).

The traveller left New Zealand on Jul 21 and arrived in South Korea the next day after transiting through Singapore. The person showed no symptoms but tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in South Korea.

“South Korean authorities have informed us that based on their initial investigations they suspect the traveller was infected during the transit in Singapore airport,” the New Zealand health ministry said on Monday.

“However other causes, including infection in New Zealand, can’t be ruled out at this stage so the ministry is in close contact with South Korea and is expecting further information from the authorities later today New Zealand time.”

In May, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said Singapore will gradually allow travellers to transit through Changi Airport from Jun 2.

Passengers flying through Changi Airport will be directed to new transit holding areas in Terminals 1 and 3 to provide a “safe environment for all passengers and airport workers”, said Changi Airport Group (CAG) on Jun 11.

READ: Safety measures in new transit holding areas in Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines (SIA) also announced on that day that SIA and SilkAir passengers flying from Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand will be allowed to transit through Changi Airport.

CAG said the holding areas will be disinfected regularly and temperature taking will be conducted at the entrances. Transit passengers with a high temperature or who appear or feel unwell will be given medical attention.

The new Terminal 1 transit holding area. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

All passengers must wear a face mask and adhere to the safe distancing markers.

Airport staff members in transit holding areas are required to wear face masks, face shields and gloves, and will also have their temperatures taken before entering the area.

Contactless hand sanitisers, automatic water taps and doors equipped with sensors in restrooms are available in the transit holding areas, CAG had said.

All restrooms, seats and chairs are regularly cleaned and disinfected. 

“Frequently touched surfaces such as charging stations, tables and playgrounds have been sprayed with a long-lasting anti-microbial disinfectant coating that reduces the risk of virus transmission,” said CAG.

CNA has contacted CAAS and the Ministry of Health for more information. 

CAG said it has no comment, in response to CNA's queries. 

Seats in the transit holding area are vacuumed and wiped regularly with disinfectant. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

There have been 1,206 COVID-19 cases in New Zealand, the health ministry said.

"It has now been 87 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source," the media release said.

"There are no new recovered cases today, which means the total number of active cases in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities remains at 21. There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19."

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Source: CNA/mi(gs)


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