Forum: GE candidates should undergo coronavirus testing

The facade of the Elections Department.
The facade of the Elections Department.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

I cannot agree with Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), that general election candidates need not be tested for Covid-19 (GE candidates do not need to be tested for Covid-19: MOH, June 26).

The multi-ministry task force tackling the outbreak has cautioned that Singapore, despite coming out of the circuit breaker, is not out of the woods yet and that we should not let our guard down.

MOH has also announced that from next month, all children aged 13 and above who show up at clinics with signs of acute respiratory infection will be tested for Covid-19.

During the circuit breaker, the ministry conducted extensive virus testing on thousands of people, including foreign workers living in dormitories, senior residents in nursing homes, and staff and children at pre-school centres.

Despite some public misgivings about holding the GE during this period, the Government has decided to proceed with it. Political candidates are even allowed to conduct walkabouts and house visits within the constituencies.

I am concerned that despite safe distancing measures, interaction between candidates and residents on a massive scale may pose a health risk to the community.

Mask-wearing and safe distancing may not be enough.

But if candidates are tested and declared free of Covid-19, it would put voters at ease.

Nancy Teo Geok Har

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2020, with the headline 'GE candidates should undergo coronavirus testing'. Print Edition | Subscribe