Both Travellers Flew From South Africa En Route To Australia & Malaysia
In case you didn’t know it, Singapore is a major aviation hub and thus a convenient place to transit for many travellers.
So since the Omicron Variant emerged, it was probably a matter of time before it hit Singapore – even if just in passing.
It’s now been confirmed that 2 passengers infected with Omicron transited through Changi Airport on separate days in Nov.
Thankfully, they both remained in the transit holding area.
1st case transited on 19 Nov
The 1st passenger was previously reported as Malaysia’s 1st Omicron case.
The 19-year-old woman is a student at a private university in Ipoh and is fully vaccinated, Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
She arrived in Singapore on 19 Nov, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) was quoted by The Straits Times as saying on Friday (3 Dec).
This was after she had taken Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight SQ479 from Johannesburg, South Africa.
15 close contacts identified
Fortunately, the woman didn’t enter Singapore or any other areas in the airport besides the transit holding area, MOH said.
She left for Malaysia on the same day.
However, 15 passengers on board SQ479 with her have been identified as close contacts.
All of them didn’t enter Singapore either, and had no interaction with the community. They also stayed in the transit holding area.
2nd case transited on 27 Nov
As for the 2nd case, he’s a man who arrived in Changi Airport on 27 Nov.
He was also on an SIA flight from Johannesburg – SQ481 – and was in transit to Sydney.
The man flew to Sydney on SQ231 and arrived in the Australia city on 28 Nov.
He stayed in holding area
Like the 1st case, the infected male traveller stayed in the holding area and didn’t visit other places in Changi Airport or enter Singapore.
The New South Wales Health Ministry confirmed him as the 8th case of Omicron in the state.
He’s fully vaccinated, and is now under quarantine. Before he left South Africa, he tested negative on 24 Nov.
He isn’t the 1st Omicron-infected passenger that has flown to Sydney from Singapore.
Earlier this week, it was reported that 2 passengers on SQ211 to Sydney were also infected.
No evidence of community transmission: MOH
The Omicron Variant is currently so dreaded now that the thought of it passing through Singapore might be worrying.
But MOH has assured that there’s no evidence of community transmission from these 2 passengers.
Nevertheless, contact tracing is being carried out for both cases.
Omicron already in Singapore
Of course, even if we disregard travellers on transit, Singapore has already reported our 1st 2 imported cases of Omicron.
The pair arrived in Singapore on 1 Dec from Johannesburg onboard SQ479.
The Singaporean and permanent resident (PR) were conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
Not time to panic yet
Considering Singapore’s status as a popular place for transit, we were bound to have Omicron-infected travellers passing through.
What’s more important is whether the variant leaks through or not – thus we have to hope that our airport safety processes are tight enough.
Since no community transmission has been reported, it’s not time to panic yet.
However, we do have to brace ourselves as MOH has warned of more cases at our borders, and within our community, “in time to come”.
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Featured image adapted from Changi Airport on Facebook.