Since the cluster emerged, close to 19,000 airport workers in Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3, and Jewel were tested for COVID-19 as part of a special testing operation to quickly detect, isolate and treat any potential COVID-19 cases in the airport community.
Airport workers working around T3 Basement 2 who had tested negative for COVID-19 in their first test, have been rostered to take an additional COVID-19 test since 20 May 2021, CAAS and CAG said in a joint statement. The results are pending.
As of 20 May 2021, 43 airport workers have tested positive for COVID-19. They include the 10 workers who were picked up through the special testing operation. The other 33 workers were detected while serving quarantine orders, through earlier Rostered Routine Testing, through MOH’s voluntary testing operation for visitors to T3, or when they sought medical treatment from a GP.
Most of the cases were detected early with cases peaked around 13 May and very few cases after that. None of the cases are in serious condition, require oxygen or in intensive care unit.
According to the statement, preliminary investigations indicate that the initial transmission that led to the cluster could have occurred when an airport worker assisted a family from South Asia. The family arrived in Singapore on 29 April 2021. They were found to be positive for COVID-19 through their On-Arrival tests.
Further investigations by MOH and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) are ongoing.
ART (Antigen Rapid Test) for passengers from very high-risk countries
To boost defences in light of the emergence of a more transmissible strain of the virus, arriving passengers from very high-risk countries or regions will have to undergo on-arrival Antigen Rapid Test (ART). This is on top of the PCR test.
The ART is an additional layer of screening. The quicker turnaround time of an ART will allow for quick actions to be taken to isolate the person who tests positive by ART. This took effect from 20 May.
From 23 May 2021, airport workers in higher risk roles will be required to take an additional ART between their 7-day rostered routine tests.
Cohorting arrangements for airport workers
These include separate dining and rest areas for different groups of airport workers and ringfencing higher risk work teams from mingling with other work teams.
Changi Airport Passenger Terminal Buildings and Jewel to Remain Closed to Members of Public
The 2 terminal buildings and Jewel will remain closed to the public until the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), the statement said. The airport remains open for travel.