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From Dec 1, individuals can get tested for Covid-19 without prior approval: MOH

SINGAPORE — From Dec 1, individuals who want to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be able to get it from approved providers, without needing prior approval from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

From Dec 1, individuals can get tested for Covid-19 without prior approval: MOH

Singapore healthcare workers collecting a nasal swab sample from a migrant worker for Covid-19 testing.

SINGAPORE — From Dec 1, individuals who want to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be able to get it from approved providers, without needing prior approval from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

MOH said on Tuesday (Nov 10) that the move will make Covid-19 testing more accessible to all as the country resumes more economic and community activities.

Such testing will also be useful for individuals travelling overseas who require pre-departure testing.

There are now around 600 clinics and providers that offer PCR testing, MOH said. 

It will continue to increase the number of clinics and providers that can administer the Covid-19 PCR tests.

The list of clinics and providers approved to give Covid-19 testing at off-site locations may be found at https://go.gov.sg/covid19pcrtestproviders.

When asked if the cost of a PCR test is expected to go down, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak,director of medical services at MOH, said that the ministry is working with various laboratories and services to see if the cost can be reduced. He was speaking at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force handling the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A PCR test costs slightly less than S$200 including goods and services tax. 

“We are looking to see if we can reduce the cost of performing the test at the lab end as well as the infrastructure required for the testing. The cost of the test has already decreased quite substantially from the first time these tests were made available for diagnosis, at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and now.”

He added that these tests will not be subsidised and the cost will be borne by those taking them. 

In its press release, MOH also said that it has conducted pilots on pre-event testing using antigen rapid tests to enable more large-scale and higher-risk activities to resume in a safer manner.

These include the Singapore International Energy Week and the ONE Championship Mixed Martial Arts events last month.

“We will continue to pilot different workflows in different settings, and will provide more details on requirements for pre-event testing when ready,” it said.

Assoc Prof Mak said that pre-event testing pilots are also being carried out at smaller scale events such as weddings.

“We're pleased to note that so far, these tests have not yielded positive results, but this is consistent with the current situation we have where the community prevalence rate in Singapore is very low.

“But we remain vigilant and we continue to look out for cases that may arise in the community, and any positive results that we pick up from pre-event testing will still be validated and confirmed using the conventional PCR tests at this time.”

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Covid-19 coronavirus MOH PCR test clinic

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