Number of tests carried out 'depends on which groups are scheduled'
The number of Covid-19 tests carried out may fluctuate from day to day, depending on which group of people is scheduled to be tested, the Health Ministry's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said yesterday.
He was explaining the reason behind the Health Ministry saying, on several occasions in its daily case updates, that fewer tests had been conducted, leading to a lower number of reported cases.
Assoc Prof Mak said the reason fewer tests were done on certain days is not that Singapore has changed its tempo of testing but that tests for Covid-19 are done across different settings.
For instance, in dormitories, tests are carried out to ensure blocks of foreign workers are infection-free so that they can return to work.
Sometimes, the number of workers tested may vary each day, depending on the group of people scheduled to be tested and the way in which their tests are scheduled, he said.
"And depending on which dormitory is allocated for that particular day, you may end up with more in a particular day, fewer on other days," he added.
Assoc Prof Mak also said the laboratory which had calibration issues with its apparatus last month, which led to 33 false positives, has since resolved them and is continuing to help test cases.
The multi-ministry task force tackling the spread of the coronavirus had previously said it aimed to ramp up its testing rate to 40,000 tests a day.
But the task force's co-chair, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, noted yesterday that testing will continue to be done in a targeted manner, with high-risk groups being prioritised.
As of June 1, over 408,000 tests, or 71,700 tests per million population, had been carried out.
In a statement yesterday, the Health Ministry said: "Covid-19 testing is a key enabler of the Government's overall efforts to safely reopen after the circuit breaker... over the past months, our national capacity to conduct tests for Covid-19 has been ramped up steadily."