2 preliminarily positive Omicron COVID cases dined in 4 restaurants in Orchard

Omicron Variant on test tube - New Variant of Covid 19
Omicron COVID-19 variant in test tube. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Three more COVID-19 cases have tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (15 December).

Of these infections, one is a local case, one is imported and the other is a close contact of the imported case.

All of them are fully vaccinated and have mild or no symptoms, and are recovering in isolation wards at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

The imported cases is a 36-year-old man who travelled to Singapore via the Vaccinated Travel Lane from the US. His pre-departure test in the US on 6 December was negative for COVID-19 infection, as was his on-arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on 8 December.

However he tested positive for COVID-19 infection for his antigen rapid test (ART) on 10 December, and his PCR test result was also positive on 11 December.

The close contact is a 34-year-old woman, who is the wife of the imported case. The woman, who had no recent travel history, was placed on quarantine on Tuesday and tested positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day. Prior to that, she was working from home.

The couple had dined at Mizuki at Ngee Ann City, Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant at Sheraton Towers Singapore, and Merci Marcel at Palais Renaissance on 8 December, and Signs A Taste Of Vietnam Pho at Orchard Gateway on 9 December.

All customer-facing restaurant staff, as well as patrons with SafeEntry check-in/out timings that coincided with the time that the couple were at the restaurants, will be issued Health Risk Warnings (HRW) by MOH. A one-time targeted PCR testing operation will be conducted for these individuals.

The local case is a 54-year-old man who works as a loading cabin assistant at Changi Airport Terminal 3, and had no contact with flight passengers.

The man was tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and his PCR test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection. He had been placed on a daily antigen rapid testing regime since 10 December, and his test results up to Monday were negative.

The National Public Health Laboratory will assess whether all three cases are of the variant and contact tracing is ongoing. 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.

To date, there are 16 confirmed Omicron cases detected in Singapore, with 14 imported cases and two local cases who are airport passenger service staff. There are no known linkages between the two cases, authorities previously said.

“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,” MOH said.

Meanwhile, MOH confirmed 474 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore – bringing the country's total case count to 274,617 – as well as three deaths due to the disease.

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