SINGAPORE — From 1 December, any company or individual who requires a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be able to get such services from approved providers including for pre-departure testing, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday (10 November).
Individuals will no longer need to seek approval from MOH for pre-departure tests then, the ministry said.
There are currently around 600 clinics and providers that can provide PCR testing, the MOH said.
Laboratories, clinics and swab service providers who are interested to provide such COVID-19 testing services at premises beyond a licensed clinic or laboratory or hospital, can apply for an off-site COVID-19 testing application.
The list of clinics and providers approved to provide COVID-19 testing at off-site locations can be found here.
“We will continue to increase the number of clinics and providers who can administer the COVID-19 PCR tests,” the MOH said.
At a virtual media briefing on Tuesday evening, the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 was asked by Yahoo News Singapore if the cost of these tests would be subsidised by the government, and whether the increase in the number of providers might bring down the cost of the tests.
MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak clarified that those who seek tests at the private labs must foot the bill themselves. Nevertheless, MOH is working with various laboratories and service providers to reduce the costs associated with testing as well as the related infrastructure.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce on the coronavirus, added, “We hope that through making available testing capacity from the private sector, there'll be competition and there'll be more supplies available and by doing so, we will ensure that the price they offer will be competitive, and that will reflect the actual cost of the test.”
The MOH said it is also conducting pilots on pre-event testing using antigen rapid tests (ARTs) to enable more large-scale and higher-risk activities to resume such as at the Singapore International Energy Week and the ONE Championship Mixed Martial Arts events last month.
The ministry will continue to conduct such pilots and provide more details on requirements for pre-event testing when ready.
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