Covid-19: Free surveillance testing to be offered to community groups, workers in Singapore’s Chinatown

Covid-19 testing will take place on February 8 and 9, 2021, for stallholders, shop owners, persons in the food-and-beverage industry, as well as food delivery persons operating in and around Chinatown. ― TODAY pic
Covid-19 testing will take place on February 8 and 9, 2021, for stallholders, shop owners, persons in the food-and-beverage industry, as well as food delivery persons operating in and around Chinatown. ― TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Jan 23 — The government will offer free Covid-19 surveillance testing for community groups and workers in Chinatown as a precautionary measure in the lead-up to Chinese New Year.

Taking place on February 8 and 9, the testing will involve stallholders, shop owners, persons in the food-and-beverage industry, as well as food delivery persons operating in and around Chinatown, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a press statement yesterday.

“While there has been no evidence that these community groups are at higher risk of infection, MoH will be offering tests to them as they are expected to interact more frequently with other members of the public during this time.”

The authorities will be progressively reaching out to the identified community groups with more details, it added.

“We strongly encourage all individuals in the identified community groups to come forward for testing.”  

The costs for the tests will be fully borne by the government. 

So far, the ministry has conducted such surveillance testing for taxi and private-hire car drivers, food delivery personnel, cashiers as well as stallholders in and around the Tekka Centre in Little India.

Aside from ongoing surveillance testing and active case finding, the ministry's Rostered Routine Testing of workers is also being held in the various sectors that have a higher risk of exposure to Covid-19 or a larger negative impact if an infection were to break out within their midst.

This includes workers living in dormitories, and those working in the construction, marine and process, as well as aviation and maritime sectors.The authorities had earlier announced that it will bear the costs of Rostered Routine Testing in these sectors until March 31 this year.

However, MoH said yesterday that as Covid-19 continues to “pose significant public health risks” in the above-mentioned industries, the government will continue to bear the costs for these regular tests until September 30 “to support their safe operations”.

“The government will continue to review its subsidies for Covid-19 Rostered Routine Testing to ensure that they support our public health efforts, while sharing the costs equitably between taxpayers, employers and individuals,” it added.

MoH also said that the tightened safe management regulations, supported by widespread surveillance testing and progressive vaccination of Singapore’s population — starting from those in settings with higher public health risk — will help Singapore to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and keep community transmission rates low.

“This is key if we are to remain in Phase Three and consider any further re-opening,” it said. ― TODAY

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