SINGAPORE: Initial investigations show that it is “impossible” that a traveler from New Zealand who was transiting in Singapore on his way to South Korea was infected with COVID-19 during his stay, Singaporean authorities said Friday (Jul 31).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) said: “Our initial investigation found that it was impossible for the individual to be infected during transit at Changi Airport because it meant an incubation period of less than 24 hours.
“According to the World Health Organization, the average incubation period for COVID-19 infection is five to six days, with a maximum of up to 14 days.”
On Monday, New Zealand said that they were told by South Korean authorities that travelers might have been infected while traveling in Singapore.
The person left New Zealand on July 21 and arrived in South Korea the following day after transiting through Singapore. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was carried out about four hours after the arrival of individuals in South Korea, Singapore authorities said.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health said on Tuesday the person spent 14 hours and 20 minutes in the transit room at Changi Airport, along with people who had traveled from other parts of the world.
Before leaving from New Zealand, the person uses a domestic flight from Auckland to Christchurch. Close contact tracing of passengers on domestic flights has been completed, the New Zealand health ministry said on Thursday.
READ: South Korea suspects travelers who test positive for COVID-19 are infected during transit in Singapore: New Zealand
“Singapore has contacted the New Zealand and South Korean authorities for more information,” the Ministry of Health and CAAS said on Friday.
“The source of the infection is still unknown and investigations by various authorities are ongoing. As an additional precautionary measure, contact tracing in Singapore is also ongoing.”
They outline “strict measures” taken at Changi Airport to ensure that transit passengers are separated from other passengers “at all stages of their journey – both on flights and at the airport”.
“In addition, all passengers traveling through Changi Airport must wear masks at all times, while airport staff use personal protective equipment when interacting with passengers,” said a joint response to the CNA question.
Long distance and temperature pick-up for passengers and staff are also applied.
“All transit passengers, including those arriving on the same flight as individuals, comply with these precautions,” the Ministry of Health and CAAS added.
SOURCES MAY INFECT
On Friday, the New Zealand health ministry said that there was “no evidence of transmission” in a country involving travelers.
All domestic contacts from the cases tested to date have produced negative results.
Previously said it was considering four possibilities about this case: That it might be a false positive result, that it might be an old infection that has returned a positive result, that it was a case that was recently obtained on its way or that it was a recent case acquired in New Zealand.
The possibility of false positives was ruled out after the New Zealand health ministry received the second positive PCR test result from South Korean authorities.
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