More testing centres for migrant workers to be set up by year-end

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To scale up routine Covid-19 swab testing for migrant workers, more in-dormitory testing facilities and regional screening centres will be set up by the end of the year.

There are now 24 rostered routine testing (RRT) facilities in dormitories, with nine more to be set up by the end of this month, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in a joint statement yesterday.

The increase in rostered routine testing facilities will benefit more than 35,000 workers.

Speaking at the regional screening centre in Cochrane Recreation Centre yesterday, MOM's Assurance, Care and Engagement Group's medical director Lam Meng Chon said the 33 dormitories were picked based on the large number of workers staying there.

"These are places that have a critical mass of migrant workers. Stationing in-dorm RRT stations within (these) dorms encourages convenience and economies of scale," he said.

Dr Lam noted that as of yesterday, about 2,400 workers have still not been cleared to resume work as they had not completed their rostered routine testing.

This is down from 5,700 such workers on Sept 18.

Workers on shifts currently have access to swab testing at night at facilities in Acacia Lodge in Bukit Batok, Cassia@Penjuru, Central Staff Apartments in Boundary Close and Westlite Mandai in Mandai Estate.

Employers can schedule their workers' routine testing appointments in their dormitories, or at 14 of the 20 regional screening centres islandwide.

HPB plans to have 25 to 30 screening centres by the end of the year.

Currently, all migrant workers living in dormitories, except Toh Guan Dormitory, need to undergo such testing every two weeks, as part of a multi-layered strategy to prevent and detect new infections earlier.

Those in Toh Guan Dormitory are presently being tested every week as part of a trial to enhance testing efforts.

Through the online Swab Registration System, employers can select their preferred swab locations and testing dates to schedule their workers for testing at either the in-dorm facilities or the screening centres.

Once workers attend their first routine testing appointment, the system will automatically schedule them for the next appointments.