Regular Covid-19 testing required for unvaccinated staff in sectors like malls, supermarkets and food delivery

The staff will be tested twice a week using antigen rapid tests from Oct 1, 2021.
The staff will be tested twice a week using antigen rapid tests from Oct 1, 2021.PHOTOS: JASON QUAH, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More groups of unvaccinated people who interact more frequently with the public will be tested twice a week using antigen rapid tests from Oct 1 this year.

These individuals include those who work in malls and supermarkets, taxi and private-hire car drivers, delivery personnel, driving instructors, and public transport front-line staff, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (Aug 13).

All employers of these groups of workers are encouraged to facilitate vaccination for their employees, it added. 

Workers already under this "vaccinate or regular test" regime that will take effect from Oct 1 include healthcare workers, as well as those who work in food and beverage (F&B) establishments, gyms and fitness studios, and personal care services.

MOH also announced that from Aug 18, it will extend the national vaccination programme to groups of short-term pass holders who are in Singapore for long periods of time.

Those eligible will be progressively notified by the ministry from Aug 18, and more details will be announced shortly.

The Straits Times has asked MOH which groups of short-term pass holders are eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine will be offered to these individuals because a good majority of Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders have been vaccinated, MOH said.

To make it easier for people - especially seniors - to get their jabs, the number of Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) offering Covid-19 vaccinations will be increased to 60 by the end of August, up from 44 now.

From Aug 18, all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders aged 12 and above can walk into any polyclinic or the 44 PHPCs to get their Covid-19 vaccination.

The list of participating PHPCs can be found at this website.

Since Tuesday (Aug 10), those individuals have been able to walk into any of the 37 vaccination centres here to get their jabs without a prior appointment. 

As at Thursday, 84 per cent of seniors aged 60 and above are fully vaccinated, while 89 per cent have received at least their first dose.

However, more than 115,000 are still unvaccinated, said MOH, strongly urging this group of seniors to get their jabs.

Giving an update on community vaccination efforts, the ministry said 6,600 seniors have received their vaccines from mobile vaccination and home vaccination teams.

To date, 10 mobile vaccination teams have travelled to around 90 heartland locations with higher populations of seniors, while 11 home vaccination teams have served housebound individuals, the ministry added.

General practitioners and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners are also helping to educate their unvaccinated elderly patients on the importance of getting inoculated, it said.

Singapore will also help neighbouring countries in their vaccination efforts through donation and swopping of vaccines, as the country has made good progress in its vaccination programme and set aside sufficient vaccine supplies, said MOH.

"This will help to boost the overall resiliency of our region against Covid-19," it added.