Indian national not infected with COVID-19 at Changi Airport in Singapore: Health ministry

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Singapore, May 29 (PTI) A 32-year-old Indian national who arrived here on April 25 from Nepal could not have been infected with COVID-19 at the Changi airport as there is no phylogenetic link between her case and those infected in the airport’s Terminal 3 cluster, officials said.

Singapore’s health ministry said on Friday that its investigations have confirmed that there is no phylogenetic link between the Sonal Wadde case and those in the Changi Airport Terminal 3 cluster.

Phylogenetic testing helps to determine if infections are related.

Wadde, who arrived here as a dependant's pass holder, had said that she felt safer in India, according to a report by The Straits Times.

The matter came to the fore after a screenshot of her response to a question on Facebook that she was infected 'most probably' at Changi Airport circulated online.

“This was because two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests I took before boarding the flight to Singapore and upon arrival had been negative,” she wrote in the comment section, which was picked up by several online news websites.

It is unclear when she posted the comment, or what question she was responding to, said the Singapore English daily.

'A negative pre-departure test or on-arrival test does not necessarily mean that a person is free from COVID-19, as one could be incubating the virus from an exposure prior to taking the tests,' the newspaper quoted the health ministry as saying.

The Changi Airport cluster is currently the largest active cluster with 108 cases linked to it as on Thursday.

Wadde is an imported case who was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on May 2, the ministry said, adding that she tested positive during her stay-home notice at a dedicated facility.

After Wadde was identified as an employee of Singapore's DBS Bank in online articles on Tuesday, the bank clarified in a Facebook post that she was previously engaged as a contract employee through a third-party vendor from June to July 2019.

Wadde is not currently a DBS employee, the bank's post said.

'We hold our employees to the highest standards of conduct, both in person and online. DBS is fully committed to supporting the national effort to contain the spread of COVID-19,' said DBS, Singapore's largest banking group.

Singapore reported 15 local and imported coronavirus cases each on Friday. There have been 61,970 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far here, out of which, 61,407 people have been discharged from hospitals and community facilities.

A total of 241 people are still in hospitals, 290 housed in isolated facilities with milder symptoms, and 32 people have died due to infection-related complications.

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