SINGAPORE: Two more COVID-19 cases in Singapore have tested "preliminarily positive" for the Omicron variant, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Dec 9).
One was a local case while the other was imported. Both cases were fully vaccinated and had received their booster shots.
The local case, identified as Case 276363, is a 24-year-old Singaporean woman who is a passenger service staff member at Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3, said MOH.
She had also worked at the transit holding area, where she may have interacted with transit passengers from "Omicron-affected" countries, said MOH. The woman did not work at Terminal 4, where the three earlier cases of Omicron infections had been to.
The woman tested for COVID-19 on Dec 8 as part of the weekly rostered routine testing for border frontline workers.
"Her polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result revealed the presence of S-gene Target Failure, which may be associated with the Omicron variant," said MOH.
She was asymptomatic when detected through rostered routine testing and may have been in the early stages of infection, added the ministry.
The woman self-isolated at home when she was notified of her positive test result, before she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
"The National Public Health Laboratory is conducting whole genome sequencing to confirm the variant," said the Health Ministry.
If confirmed, the 24-year-old would be Singapore's first local Omicron case.
IMPORTED CASE RETURNED FROM GERMANY VIA VTL FLIGHT
The other case who tested preliminarily positive for the variant was a 46-year-old woman who returned to Singapore via a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) from Germany on Dec 6.
The woman, identified as Case 276,223, is a permanent resident and was on board Singapore Airlines flight SQ325.
Her pre-departure test in France on Dec 4 was negative for COVID-19 infection.
Upon arrival in Singapore, her PCR test on Dec 6 came back negative. She then developed a runny nose on Dec 7 and sought medical treatment on Dec 8.
The woman tested positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day and was confirmed to have the S-gene Target Failure on Dec 9, said MOH.
"Both cases are recovering in isolation wards at NCID. MOH is conducting aggressive contact tracing to ringfence the cases," it added.
All close contacts of the cases will be placed on 10-day quarantine at designated facilities and undergo PCR tests at the start and end of their quarantine period, said the Health Ministry.
It added that all airport staff are already tested using PCR tests every seven days. As an added precautionary measure, they will now be required to also conduct daily antigen rapid tests for the next seven days.
"Given its high transmissibility and spread to many parts of the world, we should expect to find more Omicron cases at our borders and also within our community," said MOH.
Apart from the two new cases reported on Thursday, there were three earlier cases of Omicron infection. Of the three, two have been confirmed while the confirmatory test result for the third (Case 273611) is pending.
Singapore reported 682 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.