Singapore Says Two With Omicron Variant Transited Changi Airport

by BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE started contact tracing for airport staff who may have come into contact with two travelers infected with the omicron variant of Covid-19 who transited through Changi Airport on their way to Australia from South Africa, the health ministry said Monday.

Two individuals, described as being from southern Africa, flew from Johannesburg to Singapore on a Singapore Airlines flight Nov. 27, and had tested negative for Covid on Nov. 26 in South Africa, the ministry said. They later flew onward to Sydney on another Singapore Airlines flight, where they tested positive for the omicron variant.

While most of the travelers for the Singapore Airlines flight from Johannesburg had remained in the transit area until their departure for Sydney, seven disembarked, the ministry said in a statement. Six of them are in isolation at a dedicated facility and one, a close contact of an infected individual on the flight, has been quarantined.

Singapore earlier restricted travel from southern Africa and delayed the launch of vaccinated travel lanes with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over omicron concerns as the three countries are connection points for travelers from southern Africa traveling to Asia. The flight in question from Johannesburg arrived before the restrictions took effect.

All staff on the flight will self quarantine and get tested for the disease, Singapore Airlines was cited by the Straits Times as saying.