Over 500 truck drivers tested for Covid-19 at checkpoints on day 1 of new measure, all negative: MOH

A traffic jam on the Causeway on Jan 22, the day compulsory Covid-19 antigen rapid testing was rolled out for cargo drivers entering Singapore at land checkpoints.
A traffic jam on the Causeway on Jan 22, the day compulsory Covid-19 antigen rapid testing was rolled out for cargo drivers entering Singapore at land checkpoints.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - More than 500 truck drivers have been tested for Covid-19 at Singapore's two land checkpoints since a new requirement kicked in on Friday (Jan 22), with all results coming back negative, said the Ministry of Health's (MOH) medical services director Kenneth Mak.

Compulsory antigen rapid tests (ART) were rolled out at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints for cargo drivers. Tests will be conducted at random during this initial phase, and extended to all truck drivers and those accompanying them in coming weeks. Only those who test negative can enter Singapore.

Associate Professor Mak said testing operations have been conducted relatively smoothly thus far, and checkpoint officials would continue to refine processes to ensure minimal disruption to businesses and drivers.

The new requirement is in line with Singapore's strengthened border controls, which require all travellers to take Covid-19 tests upon arrival.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic, reiterated on Friday that the authorities were taking no chances at Singapore's borders.

He said that the number of imported cases of Covid-19 was sometimes "quite high", but this was not due to more travellers coming into Singapore - a number which has stayed relatively constant.

"It's a reflection of the increase in the infection rate around us," Mr Wong explained. "Because of the higher prevalence, we are seeing a higher incidence of cases amongst the number of travellers who come through our borders.

"We have put in place a pre-departure test to screen out some of them, but that's still not effective enough because the virus may be incubating."

Added Mr Wong: "For those travellers who are coming in, we continue to keep the measures tight by having the stay-home notice requirement and making sure that they are in quarantine, and then testing them at the tail end of the quarantine. So those border measures remain tight, remain secure."


Read the key takeaways from the Covid-19 ministerial task force announcements made on Jan 22.