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SINGAPORE: Three COVID-19 cases in Singapore have tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (Dec 15).

One is a local case, one is an imported case and the third is a close contact of the imported case.

“All three cases are fully vaccinated and have mild or no symptoms, and are recovering in isolation wards at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID),” MOH said in a news release.

“MOH is ringfencing the cases through contact tracing.”

The local case, identified as Case 279330, is a 54-year-old man who works as a loading cabin assistant at Changi Airport Terminal 3. He had no contact with flight passengers.

“He was tested for COVID-19 on Dec 14 as part of rostered routine testing, and his polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection,” MOH said.

“He had been placed on a daily antigen rapid testing (ART) regime since Dec 10, and his test results up to Dec 13 were all negative.”

The imported case, identified as Case 278256, is a 36-year-old man who travelled to Singapore via the vaccinated travel lane with the United States.

“His pre-departure test in the US on Dec 6 was negative for COVID-19 infection, as was his on-arrival PCR test on Dec 8,” MOH said.

“However, he tested positive for COVID-19 infection for his supervised ART on Dec 10, and his PCR test result also came back positive on Dec 11.”

The third new case reported on Wednesday, known as Case 279395, is the wife of Case 278256. The 34-year-old woman had no recent travel history.

“She was placed on quarantine on Dec 14 as she had been identified as a close contact of Case 278256, and tested positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day. Prior to that, she was working from home,” MOH said.

The couple dined at four restaurants on Dec 8 and Dec 9: Mizuki at Ngee Ann City, Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant at Sheraton Towers Singapore and Merci Marcel at Palais Renaissance on Dec 8, and Signs A Taste Of Vietnam Pho at Orchard Gateway on Dec 9.

“All customer-facing restaurant staff, as well as patrons with SafeEntry check-in/out timings that coincided with the time that the cases were at the restaurants, will be issued health risk warnings by MOH,” the ministry said.

“A one-time targeted PCR testing operation will also be conducted for these individuals, whom MOH will contact.

“All visitors to the affected premises are advised to monitor their health closely, and minimise social interactions as far as possible, for 14 days from their date of visit or interaction. They are encouraged to see a doctor immediately if they feel unwell.”

The National Public Health Laboratory is conducting whole genome sequencing for the three cases to confirm the variant, the Health Ministry said.

Those identified as close contacts of the cases will be placed on 10-day quarantine at designated facilities and undergo PCR tests at the start and end of their quarantine.

As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported 16 confirmed Omicron variant COVID-19 cases: 14 imported cases and two local cases who are airport passenger service staff.

Singapore reported 474 new COVID-19 cases and three fatalities as of noon on Wednesday.