We thank Mr Ng Teik Lim for his letter and apologise for the inconvenience he experienced (Testing for possible Covid-19 exposure could have been better managed, May 4).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will review what happened and continue to improve our processes for efficient mass testing.
Testing of visitors and patients who were at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on or after April 18, as well as individuals who were at the public places at the same time as the TTSH cluster cases during their infectious period, started on May 3.
As there was a high take-up rate of swab tests among the eligible individuals, the regional screening centres (RSCs) extended their operating hours that day, including staying open throughout lunch time to swab more individuals.
To cope with the numbers and mitigate overcrowding, the RSCs also increased their capacities.
Queue numbers were distributed on-site so that people could go back to the RSCs later in the day, or on subsequent days for their swab tests. As of May 6, appointments for swabs at the RSCs can also be made via https://go.gov.sg/covid-19-testing Since May 3, MOH has also included Raffles Hospital as one of the sites where eligible individuals can receive a free swab test until May 16.
Members of the public are advised to call the Swab and Send Home (Sash) Public Health Preparedness Clinics to make an appointment for a swab.
Children aged 12 and below are not eligible to be swabbed at RSCs, but they may be swabbed at Sash sites that can support swabbing for children, with the consent of the parents. The list of these clinics can be found at https://phpc.gov.sg under "Sash for children".
Ruth Lim (Dr)
Director, Primary and Community Care Division, Ministry of Health
Koh Peng Keng
Chief Operating Officer, Programmes and Outreach, Health Promotion Board