Singapore detects 2 imported COVID cases of Omicron variant who arrived from South Africa

Doctor with blood sample of Covid-19 Omicron B.1.1.529 Variant. (FILE PHOTO: Getty Images)
Doctor with blood sample of Covid-19 Omicron B.1.1.529 Variant. (FILE PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Two imported COVID-19 cases tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Singapore on Thursday (2 December), the Ministry of Health said.

The cases, who arrived from Johannesburg in South Africa, are a 44-year-old male Singapore permanent resident and a 41-year-old Singaporean woman. Both fully vaccinated cases have been conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and are recovering.

Both cases, who have mild symptoms of cough and scratchy throat, were isolated upon arrival in Singapore on 1 December, and had not interacted in the community, MOH said. “There is currently no evidence of any community transmission from these cases.”

The PR arrived in Singapore from Mozambique, transiting through Johannesburg. His pre-departure test in Mozambique on 29 November was negative for COVID-19 infection.

The Singaporean arrived in Singapore from South Africa on 1 December. Her pre-departure test in Johannesburg on 29 November was negative for COVID-19 infection.

They had undergone a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore, and were immediately conveyed to a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) dedicated facility to be isolated while awaiting their test results. Upon confirmation of COVID-19 infection, they were conveyed to NCID.

The National Public Health Laboratory is conducting whole genome sequencing to confirm the variant.

Contact tracing is ongoing. All 19 other passengers who came in on the same flight have tested negative for COVID-19 infection. They were quarantined under SHN at designated facilities upon arrival and are subjected to a testing regime which includes an on-arrival PCR test and a SHN exit PCR test.

Other close contacts of these cases, if any, will be placed on 10-day quarantine at designated facilities and undergo PCR tests at the start and end of their quarantine.

All patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant will be conveyed to NCID for isolation and clinical management. The authorities have said home recovery is not allowed for any COVID cases of the Omicron variant.

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