Fast COVID tests to be mandatory for staff servicing unmasked clients from mid-July

Positive test result by using rapid test for COVID-19, quick fast antibody point of care testing.
Test kit for COVID-19. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Staff who are working at places with unmasked clients or where there is prolonged contact between individuals will have to undergo a regular 14-day Fast and Easy Tests (FET) from mid-July, the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 said on Friday (18 June).

These places include dine-in food & beverage establishments; places offering personal care services such as facial and nail services, spas/saunas, and massage; and gyms and fitness studios.

“We expect that most of the FET can be done through a system of self-swabs supervised by the employer. To support establishments in their efforts to get started on FET, we have set up training programmes that companies can leverage to train supervisors in their establishments to supervise ART (Antigen Rapid Test Kits) self-swabs for their staff. These supervisor training programmes will be provided at no cost to these establishments for the next 3 months,” the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement.

ART kits will be made available to establishments for these self-swabs supervised by employers. Some F&B establishments have already sent their employees for training and are ready to implement regular testing progressively from 21 June, MOH said.

For small businesses who are unable to organise the supervised self-swabs on their own, MOH will set up Quick Test Centres (QTCs) to support those who need to be tested.

“We will start with one each at Tekka and Yishun which will be operational from 21 June. More QTCs will be progressively set up. To further minimise the risks of transmission in these settings, the Government will also facilitate earlier vaccination of individuals who work in these settings,” MOH said.

Asked at a virtual media briefing if the testing interval might be shortened from 14 days to perhaps seven days, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong did not rule it out. "If the need arises we can up the frequency, but we want to get the system in place progressively," said Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19.

Elderly Homes

Meanwhile, visitors to residential care homes serving elderly have to take an FET there and test negative before entry from next Monday (21 June).

Such home visits had been suspended from 5 June to 20 June.

These homes will be using ART for this purpose. “We seek the patience and understanding of visitors that some Homes may require more time to put in place the necessary procedures for ART and will only be able to resume visits at a later date,” MOH said.

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