Govt to pay for rostered routine tests in some sectors till Sept 30

Workers in sectors who have a high risk of exposure to Covid-19 have been undergoing rostered routine testing on a fortnightly basis.
Workers in sectors who have a high risk of exposure to Covid-19 have been undergoing rostered routine testing on a fortnightly basis.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The costs for Covid-19 rostered routine testing (RRT) for workers in selected sectors will be borne by the Government until Sept 30, an extension from the initial March 31 deadline, the Ministry of Health said in a state-ment yesterday.

These include all workers staying in dormitories, and those working in the construction, marine and process, aviation and maritime sectors.

Currently, workers in sectors having a high risk of exposure to Covid-19, or who pose a "large negative impact" if they were to be infected, have been undergoing RRT every fortnight.

Workers who have recently recovered from Covid-19 - within 180 days from the onset of the disease - are exempted from the test as they will continue to have neutralising antibodies that will put them at low risk of re-infection.

Recognising that Covid-19 continues to pose "significant health risks" in these sectors, the Government will be bearing the costs of RRT until Sept 30 to support safe operations in these industries.

The Government had earlier announced that it will bear the costs of RRT until March 31.

In addition, it will continue to review its subsidies for Covid-19 RRT to ensure support for public health efforts, while ensuring that the costs are shared equitably between taxpayers, employers and individuals.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore had announced earlier this month that the RRT regime for shore-based personnel who go on board vessels regularly has increased from every 14 days to seven days.

Between Jan 2 and 8, some 27,000 workers were tested for the virus in a one-time sweep. All tested negative except for one person, who was assessed to have recovered from Covid-19 infection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2021, with the headline 'Govt to pay for rostered routine tests in some sectors till Sept 30'. Subscribe