Confidential Covid-19 tests for those who visited KTV lounges, interacted with social hostesses

The key priority is to identify those who have been infected and isolate them quickly to protect the community. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The testing process for those who have visited KTV lounges or interacted with hostesses since June 29 will be confidential, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Wednesday (July 14).

Speaking to the media, Mr Ong reminded patrons to book appointments at screening centres, to protect both themselves and their loved ones, saying their privacy is protected.

He added that the key priority is to identify those who have been infected and isolate them quickly to protect the community. Mr Ong said the testing process will be confidential.

For those who are uncomfortable and unwilling to get tested at screening centres, they should "at the very least" isolate themselves and get their family members to buy them antigen rapid tests (ARTs), the minister said.

They should also monitor their health for the next 14 days and not interact with anyone.

"If you don't feel well, quickly see a doctor, and get yourself tested," Mr Ong stressed.

His appeal came as Singapore announced 56 new locally transmitted Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, with 42 of these linked to the growing KTV cluster.

Several KTV clubs and lounges, such as Club Dolce in Balestier Point and Empress KTV in Tanglin Shopping Centre, have been linked to the cluster.

Free Covid-19 testing has been extended to those who have visited the locations since June 29. The premises are closed to the public from July 13 to July 27.

Mr Ong said that more than 100 people have undergone testing since the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced its special testing operations on Monday.

He said many of those who took the swab tests are staff and customers. He added that the number is based on knowledge of those who work at the outlets and information gathered through TraceTogether and SafeEntry.

"But we strongly suspect, and the police also strongly suspect, that the data we have using TraceTogether and SafeEntry are not comprehensive," he said, emphasising that there is a limit to which they can use the data gathered through the contact tracing platforms.

Mr Ong also said that contact tracing interviews are ongoing and that the ministry is trying to get as many contacts of those affected to get tested.

Asked if the ministry would make testing mandatory for all patrons of the affected KTV lounges, Mr Ong said that it would do so if it could, noting residents in several housing estates were required to undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing after cases emerged in certain Housing Board blocks.

"We don't know who the patrons are, and therefore the best way is to urge the customers, if you have been to KTV lounges, interacted with any hostesses since June 29, come forward and be tested," he said.

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