On Wednesday (11 March), the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) notified that four regular servicemen from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) were identified as imported cases for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The affected servicemen were on official duty in Marseille, France between 15 February and 7 March 2020, and returned to Singapore on 8 March. Thereafter, the four servicemen started exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
The servicemen were tested positive for the COVID-19 on either 10 March or 11 March, and identified by the Ministry of Health as Case 165, Case 169, Case 173, and Case 175.
Three of the servicemen are currently warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and one is warded at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. None of the four servicemen had appeared at their workplace or other SAF premises since their return from France.
Meanwhile, two other RSAF regular servicemen, who were on the same overseas duty as the affected servicemen, have also returned to Singapore and are reported to be well. However, as a precautionary measure, the two RSAF personnel would be placed on home quarantine as they were close contacts.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, SAF has already reduced its overseas training deployments and exercises. At the same time, SAF will continue to adjust such activities where necessary depending on the conditions within the host country. All SAF personnel, both locally and abroad, have been instructed to take precautionary measures, including social distancing to mitigate the risk of infection.
Advisory to all visitors and contractors of SAF camps/bases
The MINDEF website had also released an advisory cautioning all visitors and contractors to the SAF Camps and Bases to adhere to all health safety protocols.
The advisory notes that in light of the COVID-19 situation, additional measures have been imposed to ensure the protection of SAF service personnel. Therefore, all visitors and contractors entering SAF camps and bases will have to undergo temperature screening and provide travel declarations.
Any individuals found to exhibit symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath will be denied entry and would be directed to seek medical attention outside.
On the other hand, individuals returning from Mainland China, Daegu City and/or Cheongdo County of the Republic of Korea within the past 14 days will not be allowed entry into the SAF camps and bases.
The notice concludes by urging Singaporeans to remain vigilant and practise good personal hygiene.