Queues at JB-Singapore links as mandatory Covid-19 test takes effect

A view of traffic at the Johor-Singapore Causeway on Jan 22, 2021.
A view of traffic at the Johor-Singapore Causeway on Jan 22, 2021.PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Queues were seen at both the land links between Johor and Singapore on Friday (Jan 22) after the mandatory rapid testing for Covid-19 imposed by Singapore on all commercial vehicle drivers entering the Republic kicked in at 9am.

Hundreds of truck drivers crossing the Causeway and Second Link had their nasopharyngeal samples taken via a swab for the antigen rapid testing kit (RTK-Ag), which can give results as quickly as 30 minutes. Only drivers who test negative will be allowed to enter Singapore.

Checks with traffic monitoring cameras showed long queues of commercial vehicles waiting to enter Singapore, which imports a lot of fresh vegetables as well as live poultry from Malaysia, among others.

Both the Second Link and Causeway were affected by Singapore's latest ruling, which was announced by the Republic's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Thursday. The announcement said all cargo drivers and accompanying personnel entering the country must undergo the RTK-Ag test at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints starting yesterday.

"As cargo drivers and accompanying personnel could have interactions with the local community in Singapore, introducing an on-arrival (antigen rapid test) will allow us to identify potential Covid-19 cases and mitigate the risk further, " said the MTI.

The ministry added that this will bolster existing safeguards to ensure public health in Singapore, as well as that for cargo drivers and their assistants.

"We recognise the importance of ensuring the smooth passage of goods between Singapore and Malaysia and value the important role of the cargo drivers and accompanying personnel, " said MTI.

Portals hosting live feeds from the traffic monitoring cameras estimated the vehicles had to take an average of 30 minutes to 40 minutes to reach the checkpoints from the Johor side.