16,000 workers yet to be tested for Covid-19 by Sept 5 deadline risk being barred from work

Workers in higher risk settings need to undergo a swab test every 14 days.

SINGAPORE - Some 16,000 workers required to undergo rostered routine testing for Covid-19 by Saturday (Sept 5) have yet to be scheduled for it by their employers.

Unless they are tested by the deadline, they will not be allowed to return to work, said the authorities in a joint statement on Friday (Sept 4).

The need for rostered routine testing was first announced on Aug 11 by the Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

The authorities said then that workers in higher-risk settings would undergo a swab test every 14 days.

Regular testing is one of several measures introduced to allow the safe restart of work. Others include implementing safe living measures in dorms and arranging staggered pick-up and drop-off timings to minimise interaction between groups of workers.

On Aug 18, the authorities announced that they would stop workers from working if their employers did not schedule them for testing, and urged employers to comply with the rules "to avoid disruption to business operations".

On Aug 22, the Sept 5 deadline for the first test was set. A final reminder was issued to employers on Tuesday (Sept 1).

The rostered routine testing requirement applies to workers staying in dormitories, as well as workers in the construction, marine and process sectors and any workers who visit worksites.

"Agencies have also stepped up efforts to directly contact employers via calls and emails to prompt them to schedule their workers for rostered routine testing before the deadline," said the authorities on Friday.

They added that "unresponsive employers who have persistently failed to schedule workers for rostered routine testing may have their work pass privileges curtailed".

Employers yet to schedule their workers for testing may do so on HPB's swab registration system.

Workers who have been scheduled for a first test on the registration system will automatically be assigned new dates for future swabs.

Employers are also reminded to log in to the system regularly to check if there are new workers for whom they need to schedule appointments.

Those who face issues with the HPB's swab registration system may write to AskSRS@hpb.gov.sg.

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