Singapore—Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a brief video clip of himself taking an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) for Covid-19 before attending the Parliamentary session on Tuesday (Jan 5).
The test was administered at Parliament House.
The Prime Minister called the process “quick and painless,” and added that such procedures would become “a regular occurrence” of Singapore’s reopening after the Circuit Breaker imposed last year to prevent the spread of the infection.
He added that ART testing would “allow infectious cases to be quickly identified (particularly asymptomatic cases), isolated and treated.”
“Then we can keep the community safe, and life and work can continue more normally,” the Prime Minister wrote.
The ART is an example of a pre-event test that the country began implementing late last year.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Oct 20 that these would be put in place in order for large-scale events to safely resume. Only people with negative test results would be allowed to attend the event.
It was announced early in December that Singapore will be hosting the World Economic Forum’s Special Annual Meeting from May 25-28. Next year, the meeting will be held as usual at It Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
ART results are usually released within half an hour and are valid for 24 hours from the time the test was taken.
Mr Gan said in October, “If you go for a multi-day event, you would then require daily testing, with that cert being valid for 24 hours. However, if you’re attending multiple events within a 24-hour window, that same cert will gain you access to multiple events if you’re negative.”
This would means Members of Parliament and those attending the sessions would need to be tested daily.
The ART consists of a nose swab, as can be seen from PM Lee’s video.
Individuals who show a positive result on their ARTs are required to self-isolate and are then given PCR swab tests to confirm if they are indeed infected. After this, they cannot depart from the place where they isolate until they receive a negative PCR result.
According to the Ministry of Health, “The tests are meant to reduce the chance or the probability that a COVID-19 case might enter that particular venue … If a COVID case enters the event, it is really up to the SMMs (safe management measures) to prevent any clusters from following.”