Singapore-bound travellers from all countries can now take virtually supervised ART for Covid-19

Short-term visitors such as tourists will still have to present Covid-19 test results from an overseas testing centre. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - All travellers, except short-term visitors, flying into Singapore from any country can now fulfil their pre-departure Covid-19 test requirements through a virtually supervised antigen rapid test (ART).

Previously, only travellers from selected countries or places were able to tap the virtually supervised ART option.

The shift in policy thus opens up the option to those departing from countries such as Thailand which were not on the list of eligible countries initially.

But short-term visitors such as tourists will still have to present Covid-19 test results from an overseas testing centre.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) updated the policy change on its website on Tuesday afternoon (April 5).

These travellers will have to take the tests through service providers listed on MOH's website.

A total of 93 service providers offered virtually supervised ARTs as at 6pm on Tuesday. This is more than a threefold increase from the 27 approved service providers as at March 22.

The testing fees start from around $12, which is significantly cheaper than physically supervised ART options in some countries such as South Korea.

MOH said that travellers looking to tap the virtually supervised Covid-19 test option should use only ART kits that are approved for distribution or use in Singapore or the relevant countries or regions.

It reminded travellers that the test must be taken within two days before departure for Singapore.

MOH also asked travellers to book their appointments early and have their own ART kits ready.

The move to expand the virtually supervised ART to eligible travellers arriving from all countries will make return trips more convenient and less costly.

These travellers will no longer have to find a physical location to take their Covid-19 tests, regardless of their country of departure. They will also have access to round-the-clock options from MOH's list of service providers.

Healthcare providers have told ST they expect demand for such virtually supervised tests to rise rapidly.

Travellers should, however, note that MOH said last month that it will consider removing the pre-departure test requirement in the coming weeks.

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