Covid-19 rostered routine testing no longer needed for most fully vaccinated workers in dormitories

The easing of Covid-19 testing measures for workers is part of a move to evolve current rules. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Fully vaccinated migrant workers living in dormitories and workers in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors will no longer have to undergo rostered routine testing from Friday (Feb 18).

In a notice to dormitory operators seen by The Straits Times, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said front-line workers working in dormitories, onboarding centres and migrant workers' recreation centres will also be exempted.

The easing of Covid-19 testing measures for workers is part of a move to evolve current rules to adapt to the distinct characteristics of the Omicron variant, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Wednesday.

Speaking at a multi-ministry task force press conference, Mr Ong said rostered routine testing is no longer very effective in preventing the spread of the virus because of the short serial interval - as short as two days - for Omicron.

"Serial interval" is the time taken between the first infected person experiencing symptoms of the virus and the next person being infected and displaying symptoms.

Mr Ong said: "Hence, it is better that we switch to a regime where people are advised to be very vigilant and very considerate.

"If unwell, immediately take an antigen rapid test (ART), make sure you're tested negative before you go out and especially if you're meeting someone vulnerable."

In the notice to dorm operators which was issued on Thursday, MOM said that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated workers residing in dorms will still have to take an employer-supervised ART every three days.

MOM said: "As this group may be more susceptible to severe disease if infected with Covid-19, the rostered routine testing will help them to better monitor their health."

The exemption also does not apply to workers living in Brani and Pasir Panjang dormitories.

MOM added that this exemption comes amid the high Covid-19 vaccination rate in Singapore and the implementation of vaccination-differentiated safe management measures. These measures ensure that workers are well protected against severe Covid-19.

As at Feb 14, 98 per cent of migrant workers living in dormitories have been fully vaccinated, said Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng in a written parliamentary response.

Dormitory operators are reminded to encourage their residents to complete their primary vaccination series and to take the Covid-19 vaccine booster shot as soon as possible.

The residents should also monitor their health and report sick if they are unwell.

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