Update on Measures at Changi Airport to Safeguard Public Health
As of 14 May 2021, 35 airport workers have been identified as COVID positive (see Annex). None of the cases are in serious condition, require oxygen or are in the Intensive Care Unit.
2 The first cases emerged amongst a few cleaners who worked in Terminal 3 Pier A. They would have come into contact with passengers arriving through this area, including those from South Asia. Subsequent cases emerged from their close contacts and work colleagues, as well as workers in retail shops in Terminal 3 Pier A. Many of these cases ate at Food & Beverage (F&B) outlets at Terminal 3 Basement 2 (T3 B2). Subsequently, cases had also emerged amongst some who ate at F&B outlets at T3 B2.
3 Changi Airport is taking a multi-layered approach towards managing the risk to public health. These include:
(i) Segregation to minimise interaction between travellers and airport staff to prevent transmission
(ii) Protecting workers through vaccination and Safe Management Measures
(iii) Testing workers regularly
(iv) Ringfencing and isolating high risk areas and workers exposed to sources of infection.
4 Flights arriving from high-risk countries/regions will be assigned a pier different from that used by flights from low-risk countries/regions. Passengers arriving from these flights will be using different arrival immigration hall, baggage belts and toilets from those arriving from lower risk countries/regions. In addition, passengers arriving on flights from very high-risk countries/regions will be escorted throughout their journey through the airport and have their on-arrival COVID-19 testing done at separate health screening stations. This will reduce the degree of interaction with other passengers and staff.
5 While 90% of frontline aviation workers have been vaccinated, we have been stepping up vaccination operations for the remaining 10% of frontline workers, as well as other essential aviation workers.
6 There will also be enhanced protection for airport workers. We are putting in place cohorting arrangements to reduce the risk of airport workers becoming infected. Different groups of airport workers will have separate rest areas, and work teams will be ringfenced from other work teams. Those working in higher risk areas will have their meals delivered to them.
7 To manage the outbreak, a special testing operation to quickly detect, isolate and treat any potential COVID-19 cases in the airport community has been in progress since 9 May 2021. Almost 10,000 airport workers have been tested. The vast majority of these were found to be COVID-negative. In addition, we are extending the testing operation to cover office workers in the Changi Airport passenger terminal buildings. About 8,000 office workers will be tested over the next few days.
8 Subsequently, all airport workers in higher risk roles will be placed on a 7-day Rostered Routine Testing cycle, regardless of their vaccination status. This is a step-up from the current 14-day cycle.
9 Changi Airport T3 B2 has been closed since 10 May 2021 for cleaning and disinfection. This has now been completed for Kopitiam and NTUC, and a thorough review of the outlets’ hygiene practices and safe management measures is in progress. Cleaning and disinfection are also ongoing at Jewel Changi Airport. In addition, we will extend cleaning and disinfection operations to the transit areas, in particular, those areas where airport workers were suspected to have been infected.
10 In our ongoing fight against COVID-19, we have called upon the airport community to do their part to help contain the spread of the virus. Airport workers have been reminded to exercise social responsibility, minimise social interactions, and are encouraged to get vaccinated and tested to protect themselves and their loved ones.
11 To pre-emptively mitigate any potential risk of wider, undetected community transmission, the Ministry of Health will offer free COVID-19 testing for members of the public who had visited Changi Airport Terminal 3 from 1 May 2021 onwards. They are strongly encouraged to take this test. MOH will progressively inform these individuals via SMS notification with information on how to book an appointment for their test.
12 We recognise the contributions, dedication and sacrifices that the men and women of the airport community have given to keep our airport safe, while ensuring that Singapore remains connected to the world.