Coronavirus pandemic

Test costs waived for those who left before March 27 advisory

Covid-19 test costs will be waived for Singaporeans and PRs who left the country before the March 27 travel advisory and are returning by Aug 31, 2020.
Covid-19 test costs will be waived for Singaporeans and PRs who left the country before the March 27 travel advisory and are returning by Aug 31, 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Singaporeans and permanent residents who left Singapore before an advisory against travelling out of the country was issued on March 27 and who are returning in the near future will not have to pay for their Covid-19 tests.

But this holds only if they enter Singapore by Aug 31, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

Those who left the country after March 27 in spite of the travel advisory will continue to bear the full cost of their Covid-19 test, which costs up to $200. They would also need to pay for staying in dedicated facilities if they are serving their stay-home notices there. This applies to all Singaporeans, permanent residents and foreigners.

The ministry also clarified that it will not automatically swab those who are aged 12 or younger before they end their stay-home notices unless their close contacts test positive for the virus. "We recognise that the tests could pose difficulties for young children," MOH said.

The ministry also confirmed 247 new coronavirus patients in Singapore yesterday.

Of these, there are five community cases - one Singaporean, one PR and three work permit holders.

The Singaporean patient, a 58-year-old woman, is a family member of a previously confirmed case and was swabbed while she was already quarantined.

The PR, a 23-year-old man, is asymptomatic and was tested as his work involves interacting with security guards in dormitories. He is currently unlinked to previous cases.

Two of the three work permit holders are also contacts of previously confirmed cases who had already been quarantined.

The third work permit holder was tested as part of MOH's active screening of those who work in essential services. He is the second unlinked patient among the five community cases.

Further tests of the five showed that one of the cases was likely infected some time ago and he is no longer infectious. Results for the other four are pending.

Migrant workers in dormitories make up the remaining 242 new cases.

  • Update on cases

  • New cases: 247

    In community: 5 (1 Singaporean, 1 PR, 3 work permit holders) 

    In dormitories: 242

    Active cases: 9,252 

    In hospitals: 257 (2 in ICU) 

    In community facilities: 8,995

    Deaths: 26 

    Patients with Covid-19 who died from other causes: 10

    Total discharged: 31,928 

    Discharged yesterday: 775

    TOTAL CASES: 41,216

Yesterday's 247 new cases takes Singapore's total of diagnosed coronavirus cases to 41,216, and is higher than the 151 cases reported on Tuesday, reversing two consecutive days of falling daily cases.

But it continues to be lower than last week's average of 350 cases a day from June 10 to 16.

The average number of new daily community cases has come down in recent days as well, from nine cases two weeks ago to seven in the past week. The figure rose from June 4, after circuit breaker measures were eased from June 2.

It stabilised on Sunday before falling on Monday, and yesterday was the third day in a row that the number has dropped.

The average number of unlinked community cases per day has also fallen from four to three over the same period.

Meanwhile, the Cold Storage supermarket in Siglap V at 2 First Street, the NTUC FairPrice store at Siglap New Market at 943 East Coast Road, the Kopitiam at Our Tampines Hub and the SF Chandpur Minimart at 6 Desker Road have been added to the list of public places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were still infectious.

The ministry provides this list of locations that Covid-19 patients have visited for more than 30 minutes to get those who were at these places to monitor their health closely for two weeks from the date of their visit.

No new Covid-19 clusters were announced yesterday.

Correction note: In an earlier version of the article, we said Singaporeans and PRs who left the country after March 27 in spite of the travel advisory do not need to pay for staying in dedicated facilities if they are serving their stay-home notices there. This is inaccurate. They would have to pay. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2020, with the headline 'Test costs waived for those who left before March 27 advisory'. Print Edition | Subscribe