NOTICE PAPER NO. 1739
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 20 MARCH 2023
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Yip Hon Weng
MP for Yio Chu Kang
Question No. 4258
To ask the Minister for Health with the introduction of charges for antigen rapid tests and polymerase chain reaction tests for COVID-19 treatment (a) whether patients can opt out of these tests; and (b) whether the removal of subsidies for treatment and the imposition of charges for tests will collectively lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of our national surveillance programme for the prevalence of COVID-19 in Singapore.
1 With our high level of resilience, the great majority of COVID-19 infections are mild and there is no need to routinely test every person with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms. Hence, the Ministry of Health no longer imposes any mandatory testing for public health reasons. Testing is mainly for patients who are medically vulnerable, for example the elderly or immunocompromised, who can benefit from early COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. Such patients can tap on prevailing subsidies for their testing and treatment fees. Oral antivirals remain free-of-charge for clinically eligible patients.
2 As for the national ARI surveillance programme, this helps us monitor the trends of COVID-19 variants and other circulating respiratory viruses, such as influenza, in the community. These tests remain free.