On 19 August, an article was circulating on Chinese social media app, Weixin, reporting that a Scoot flight (TR138) from Singapore imported 12 COVID-19 cases into Tianjin, China.
In the article, the 12 cases are said to be all males, aged between 39 to 51, who work in the construction sector in Singapore. Upon arriving in Tianjin Binhai International Airport, their body temperatures were recorded within the normal range between 36.3°C to 36.5°C. 11 of them were declared without any COVID-19-related symptoms, while a 43-year-old was reported to have blocked nose and decreased in sense of smell.
However, nucleic acid tests that were performed upon arrival showed that they were COVID-19 positive, and subsequently categorised as asymptomatic cases.
They were then isolated at local hospitals.
A query was then done by Mothership on this specific incident, and they had received a response from Scoot, confirming that there were, in fact, 13 imported cases on that flight – instead of 12.
The airline revealed that it was informed by the Chinese authorities about the 13 imported COVID-19 cases.
With a total seating capacity of 375 on the Scoot aircraft, there was a total of 223 passengers on board. It was reported that Scoot immediately informed the Ministry of Health to take necessary actions.
Following the confirmation of the imported cases, the cabin crew and pilots involved were advised to monitor their health and not be operate any flight in the next 14 days.
Previously on 19 August, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has declared that all quarantine blocks for the migrant workers have been cleared of COVID-19. Just one week before the dormitories were cleared, there were new coronavirus cases detected at previously-cleared dormitories.
And on 11 August, the Interagency Task Force (ITF) reported that they were “actively monitoring” the dormitories to manage the risk of new outbreaks.
Apart from that, migrant workers were also required by the MOM to undergo Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) every 14 days as precautionary measures. This applies to the workers who are allowed to resume work in the construction, marine, as well as process sectors.
The RRT was one of the measures to prevent a possible second wave of infections in the cleared dormitories.
This incident involving the Scoot flight raised questions on the precautionary measures that were claimed to be done by the MOM.