Singapore Begins Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise; New Cluster Detected in Police Dog Unit

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Singapore on Monday started its COVID-19 vaccination exercise, covering 37,000 frontline workers in the aviation and maritime sectors, which employ large number of foreign workers, as a new coronavirus cluster was reported in the last 24 hours. During a visit to one of the vaccination centres at the Changi Airport Terminal 4, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said about 13,000 workers from the two sectors were scheduled to be vaccinated this week under the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise.

On Monday, about 2,000 workers from the aviation sector will receive the vaccine, while about 1,000 maritime workers will be vaccinated at the Raffles City Convention Centre in the central business district here. Priority will be given to the 20,000 frontline workers who may come into contact with travellers from high-risk countries, the Channel News Asia reported, citing the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

"These include pilots, cabin crew, airport and aircraft cleaners, security screeners, passenger service agents, baggage handlers and cargo handlers," said the CAAS. "You all know that the aviation industry is decimated by COVID-19, but we must have the determination that when the crisis passes, Singapore will be an aviation hub of the region and the world again," said Ong, adding, "Singapore Airlines can be the first vaccinated international airline in the world." Singapore reported 14 COVID-19 cases on Monday, two of which were local and 12 imported.

The Health Ministry said there was no new case in the foreign workers' dormitories which were the main clusters during the peak of COVID-19 infection last year. All the COVID-19 clusters, or disease spreading points due to crowding, were cleared last year. On Sunday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported two new community cases of COVID-19 linked to a police para-veterinarian who had earlier tested positive, forming Singapore's latest virus cluster.

Twenty-five police dogs who had interacted with the para-veterinarian have tested negative for the coronavirus, according to a report by Channel News Asia. The new cases are a police administrative officer who works with the para-vet at the Police K-9 (dog) unit, and a family member of the officer. The para-vet's wife was also reported to have the disease on January 16.

As of Monday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,127 COVID-19 cases and 29 related deaths. As of Sunday, 58,846 virus patients have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.