About 200 clinics can now perform Covid-19 tests
Regional screening centres and mobile drive-through facilities to ramp up testing
Close to 200 clinics are now equipped to perform Covid-19 tests, as part of efforts to ramp up testing as the economy gradually reopens.
Four regional centres - with a fifth to open soon - have also started operating to take Singapore from 13,000 tests a day now to 40,000 in the coming months.
Mobile and drive-through facilities are also being set up.
Among those being tested are students above the age of 12 with acute respiratory infections (ARI), as well as school staff.
In an update on its website yesterday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that this was part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus in schools and the community.
MOE said that school staff and students aged 13 and up who are diagnosed with ARI will be referred to a designated clinic or polyclinic participating in the Swab-and-Send-Home initiative or one of the regional testing centres.
As of yesterday, there were 196 such clinics listed on flugowhere.gov.sg, the government portal for Public Health Preparedness Clinics.
Those referred for testing will not have to pay for it.
The ministry also explained why a different approach was being taken from pre-schools, where all staff were tested.
It said that factors such as the level of close interaction between staff and students, as well as a group's vulnerability and risk of spread, are taken into account.
"As pre-school staff have much closer physical interactions with their students, as compared with staff of other schools, all pre-school staff were tested in a one-time sweep before the pre-schools resumed full services," said MOE.
Mrs Gloria Chan, 40, who works in human resources and whose eight-year-old daughter came home with a fever and runny nose after attending her first day of school on Monday, said: "I would have preferred for her to be swabbed, but because she's too young, she was placed on five days MC."
She added that the testing regime was a good initiative to help keep schoolchildren safe.
Student Brayden Wu, 16, said: "I would be scared of the pain, but if the testing means that more students can be safe, I would do it if I have to."
He added that his parents felt the same way.
Doctor Dale Lim, family physician at The Tenteram Clinic in Whampoa - one of the 196 clinics listed - said the test is relatively painless, though there may be some slight discomfort during the procedure.
"It's a simple and convenient test to detect and treat the virus early - there's nothing to fear," he said.