Two passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight that took off from Johannesburg, South Africa, tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 after arriving in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday (11/28/2021).
The passengers previously made a transit at Singapore Changi Airport. The two passengers arrived in Sydney on Singapore Airlines SQ211, which departed Singapore at 10.30 am on Sunday and landed in Sydney at 9.20 pm on the same day.
On Monday, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) while delivering its daily COVID-19 update, said that the travelers had left Johannesburg on 27 November on Singapore Airlines flight SQ481 and arrived at Changi Airport on the same day for transit.
1. Previously tested negative
The MOH said the travelers’ pre-departure tests in South Africa on November 26 showed negative results for COVID-19. The MOH also stated that most travelers remain in the transit area at Changi Airport until their departure for Sydney on 28 November.
MOH added that they did not enter Singapore or visit other areas of Changi Airport. According to MOH, there were seven people who disembarked from the flight, of which six are currently undergoing a 10-day quarantine in a special facility and will be tested using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
“One is close contact with an infected individual on a flight and has been quarantined. Contact tracing is ongoing for airport staff who may have been in temporary contact with the case,” MOH said.
2. Everyone on the flight will be isolated
Earlier on Monday, the New South Wales health ministry (NSW Health) said in a media release that the two people with the cases of the Omicron variant had been fully vaccinated and had been isolated in special health accommodation.
“All persons on board are considered close contacts and need to be tested for COVID-19 immediately and isolated for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status,” NSW Health said.
The agency also said it would contact all passengers and crew to inform them of the isolation requirements.
3. Australia has five cases of Omicron
According to The Straits Times, Australia now has five cases of the Omicron variant. Four of them are in New South Wales.
Omicron is a new strain of the COVID-19 virus that is potentially more contagious. This strain has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of concern”.
Due to the increase in Omicron cases, starting Sunday all new arrivals to New South Wales will have to self-isolate for at least three days.
Meanwhile, all travelers arriving in New South Wales from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and Seychelles will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.