On Monday (27 July), New Zealand’s Ministry of Health revealed that a traveller who was tested positive for the highly contagious COVID-19 might have caught the virus during transit at Singapore’s airport.
It was said that the affected traveller departed New Zealand on 21 June and arrived in South Korea the following day after transiting through Singapore. Although the person did not show any symptoms, but later tested positive for the novel coronavirus upon arriving in South Korea.
“South Korean authorities have informed us that based on their initial investigations they suspect the traveller was infected during the transit in Singapore airport,” the New Zealand health minister said on Monday.
“However other causes, including infection in New Zealand, can’t be ruled out at this stage so the ministry is in close contact with South Korea and is expecting further information from authorities later today New Zealand time.”
Just in May this year, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that Singapore will slowly allow tourists to transit through Changi Airport from 2 June onwards.
However, passengers travelling through Changi Airport will be moved to new transit holding areas in Terminals 1 and 3 in order to give a “safe environment for all passengers and airport workers”, Changi Airport Group (CAG) pointed out on 11 June.
If that’s not all, Singapore Airlines (SIA) also announced on the very same day that SIA and SilkAir passengers travelling from Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand will be permitted to transit through Changi Airport.
In order to ensure proper precautions are taken, CAG said that holding areas will be disinfected frequently and temperature will be taken at the entrances. For transit passengers who record a high temperature or appear or feel unwell, they will be given medical attention.
Additionally, all passengers are also required to wear a mask and follow safe distancing rules. As for airport staff members who are place in the transit holding areas, it is compulsory for them to wear face masks, face shields and gloves, and will have their temperature taken before entering the space.
CAG also said that contactless hand sanitisers, automatic water taps and door with sensors in restrooms are available in the transit holding areas. Restrooms, seats and chairs in the area are will regularly cleaned and disinfected.
“Frequently touched surfaces such as charging stations, tables and playgrounds have been sprayed with a long-lasting anti-microbial disinfectant coating that reduces the risk of virus transmission,” it said.
In New Zealand, there have been 1,206 COVID-19 cases, the health ministry said.
“It has now been 87 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source,” the media release said.
“There are no new recovered cases today, which means the total number of active cases in New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine facilities remains at 21. There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.”