Number of Covid-19 quick test centres to double to about 120 in coming weeks

MOH expects to have at least 60 additional centres "within the next few weeks". PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - People who have to undergo supervised self-administered antigen rapid tests (ARTs), such as returning travellers and workers in some sectors, will be able to fulfil this requirement more easily in the coming weeks.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (Dec 14) that it has partnered general practitioners, mall operators and hotel groups to set up private quick test centres in selected sites across the island.

It expects to have at least 60 additional centres "within the next few weeks", such that the total number of such centres will double to about 120.

This includes centres at properties under mall operators such as CapitaLand and Frasers Property Retail. It also includes hotels under the Far East Hospitality Group, InterContinental Hotel Group, Accor Hotels and Resorts World Sentosa.

Currently, there are close to 60 quick test centres where members of the public can make appointments to conduct self-administered ARTs under supervision by trained personnel. These centres are set up by the Health Promotion Board, or by the authorities in partnership with private providers.

Each test at such centres is priced at $15, and can be used to fulfil workplace requirements under the rostered routine testing regime and for pre-event or pre-activity tests. Anyone who wishes to get tested before attending a large-scale event can also book a test at these centres.

MOH said regular testing should become a way of life as Singapore adapts to the evolving Covid-19 situation.

It added that it will continue to work closely with the industry to grow the network of private quick test centres. It called for interested eligible providers to get on board.

"This will go a long way in fostering a culture of testing, which is important for early detection of cases and for keeping our communities safe," said MOH.

MOH also announced that the Government will extend subsidies for mandated rostered routine testing, amid stepped up efforts to detect and contain the potential transmission of Omicron. 

The subsidies were due to end on Dec 31, but will now be extended until March 31 next year.

“Beyond that, employers and businesses should be prepared to factor in testing costs as part of their normal business operations,” said MOH.

It noted that airport and other border front-line workers who have greater risk of exposure to Covid-19 have reverted to a weekly polymerase chain reaction test for their rostered routine testing.

MOH added that all sectors will remain on their existing mandatory routine testing regime until more information is available about the Omicron variant. 

Read next - Singapore prepares for Omicron wave: What you need to know about new Covid-19 measures

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