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New Covid-19 test kit deployed at all S’pore checkpoints detects its first imported case

SINGAPORE — The new Singapore-developed Covid-19 test kit rolled out by the authorities last week has detected its first traveller infected with the coronavirus — an Indonesian man who arrived at Seletar Airport on Saturday (March 7).

A sample of the Covid-19 test kit which is used to detect the coronavirus.

A sample of the Covid-19 test kit which is used to detect the coronavirus.

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SINGAPORE — The new Singapore-developed Covid-19 test kit rolled out by the authorities last week has detected its first traveller infected with the coronavirus — an Indonesian man who arrived at Seletar Airport on Saturday (March 7).

In a Facebook post on Monday, Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said that the test kit had helped detect the presence of Covid-19 in the man, designated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) as Case 147.

MOH said on Monday that Case 147 is a 64-year-old Indonesian man who had arrived at Seletar Airport on Saturday. He had reported an onset of symptoms on March 3 while he was in Indonesia. MOH first announced the case on Sunday.

The man had a fever when he arrived at Seletar Airport, and underwent the Covid-19 swab test at the checkpoint.

He was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Saturday night and was confirmed as having Covid-19 on Sunday, MOH said, adding that he is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

Prior to being hospitalised, the man had mostly stayed at his rental apartment in the Oxley Road area, MOH said. The statement did not state the time of day he arrived at Seletar Airport, or how long it was between his arrival and being taken to NCID on Saturday night.

In her Facebook post, Mrs Teo said that since March 5, travellers to Singapore who have fever or display signs of respiratory illness have been required to undergo the Covid-19 nasal swab test.

The samples — which are collected at all air, land and sea checkpoints — are then analysed by the test kit, which was developed by the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and Veredus Laboratories.

“(The test kit) has an accuracy rate of more than 99 per cent and is able to test for a result in three hours,” Mrs Teo wrote, adding that she was proud of the country’s HTX scientists from the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Centre of Expertise who had developed the test kit quickly to meet Singapore’s frontline needs.

She said: “I’m glad that this innovation from our scientists at HTX can play a part in limiting the spread of imported cases in our ongoing battle with Covid-19.”

MOH had previously said that Singapore permanent residents and long-term pass holders who refuse the test may have their immigration facilities and work pass privileges revoked or the validity shortened.

All travellers, including Singapore citizens, who do not comply with the testing or who cannot be contacted afterwards may face penalties and be prosecuted under the Infectious Disease Act.

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