3,300 in shelters, children's homes to be tested by tomorrow

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About 3,300 staff, residents and clients of various homes, shelters and centres would have been tested for Covid-19 by tomorrow, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said yesterday.

These include people from voluntary children's homes, crisis shelters and children's disability homes.

Staff engaged in community services for people with disabilities, such as sheltered workshops, day activity centres and special student care centres, are also being tested.

Mr Lee said in a Facebook post that the tests are being done as part of expanded community testing efforts during phase two of Singapore's reopening after the circuit breaker.

The Ministry of Health announced last Thursday that Singapore's testing capacity would be ramped up as the economy reopens and more people are out and about.

The Republic aims to be able to conduct 40,000 tests daily.

As of last Thursday, about 12,000 tests were being carried out each day.

Mr Lee said the Ministry of Social and Family Development will conduct fortnightly tests on all staff and residents of facilities serving seniors from next month to monitor their health.

The tests will complement other measures in place to check the spread of the disease, including the mandatory wearing of masks in the homes and facilities, regular temperature and health checks, and frequent washing of hands and cleaning of high-touch areas.

Seniors are considered particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. As of the end of April, about one in five of those aged 80 and older who tested positive for the coronavirus had died.

The Government announced last month it would prioritise testing for residents and staff in homes for the elderly.

Mr Lee said yesterday these tests had returned negative.

He said: "We are staying vigilant... I'd like to thank the staff, residents and clients of our facilities for undertaking these tests as we work together towards a new Covid safe normal." - THE STRAITS TIMES