Drive-through Covid-19 swab test facility launched at One Farrer Hotel

People can have tests done while in their cars; similar set-up trialled at 3 hospitals

VIDEO: TEMASEK FOUNDATION
The drive-through testing facility at One Farrer Hotel. People can get their tests done while seated in their cars or at a nearby swab test booth.
The drive-through testing facility at One Farrer Hotel. People can get their tests done while seated in their cars or at a nearby swab test booth.PHOTO: TEMASEK FOUNDATION

As Singapore ramps up coronavirus-testing efforts, the first drive-through testing facility has been launched at One Farrer Hotel, which has been repurposed as a temporary hospital facility.

Apart from getting their Covid-19 test swabs while seated in their cars, people can opt to use swab booths nearby.

The Health Promotion Board has partnered the hotel's neighbouring Farrer Park Hospital for the initiative, it told The Straits Times yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that the patients there are those who need additional tests to confirm earlier results.

Temasek Foundation said yesterday that it had worked with its partners - healthcare providers OneCare Medical, Parkway Pantai and The Farrer Park Company - to conduct swabs at various venues, as part of the nationwide effort to increase capacity for swab testing.

The samples are then sent to Pathology Asia Holdings and ParkwayHealth Laboratory for diagnosis.

The foundation added that Gleneagles, Mount Elizabeth and Parkway East hospitals from Parkway Pantai had been trialled for the installation of drive-throughs, and more of these drive-throughs can be installed at these hospitals if necessary.

The facility at One Farrer Hotel has been operational since the middle of last month. The hotel has been repurposed as a temporary hospital facility since April, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Dr Peng Chung Mien, chief executive of The Farrer Park Company, said its two organisations - One Farrer Hotel and the hospital - will be supporting the foundation's initiatives by hosting and operating facilities "for both drive-through testing and ultra-safe booth testing in prioritised populations".

Gleneagles Hospital was the first hospital to operationalise swab test booths on May 12, in partnership with Temasek Foundation, to provide safe on-site testing at the hospital.

The swab booths were designed for mass screening and were developed by Esco Aster, a contract development and manufacturing organisation arm of biomedical company Esco Lifesciences Group.

The drive-through testing facility at One Farrer Hotel. People can get their tests done while seated in their cars or at a nearby swab test booth.
The drive-through testing facility at One Farrer Hotel. People can get their tests done while seated in their cars or at a nearby swab test booth. PHOTO: TEMASEK FOUNDATION

COLLECTIVE SAFETY

Everyone involved in the various swabbing exercises, from public-sector agencies to staff from the private hospitals, has been working tirelessly and round the clock. We hope that by supporting this initiative and making available supplies... we can together ensure the collective safety and health of our community.

MR NG BOON HEONG, chief executive of Temasek Foundation, which had worked with healthcare providers to conduct swabs at various venues.

Costing around $30,000 each, the booth can test 12 to 15 patients in an hour. It also has features to provide protection for the healthcare worker, the patient as well as the environment.

Mr Ng Boon Heong, CEO of Temasek Foundation, said: "Everyone involved in the various swabbing exercises, from public-sector agencies to staff from the private hospitals, has been working tirelessly and round the clock.

"We hope that by supporting this initiative and making available supplies, coordinating through partners to share insights and experiences... we can together ensure the collective safety and health of our community."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2020, with the headline 'Drive-through Covid-19 swab test facility launched at One Farrer Hotel'. Subscribe