We thank Mr Ng Teik Lim for his letter and apologise for the inconvenience he experienced (“Testing for possible Covid-19 exposure could have been better managed”, May 4).
MOH will review what happened and continue to improve our processes for efficient mass testing. In this case, testing of visitors and patients who were at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on or after 18 April 2021, as well as individuals who were at the public places at the same time as the TTSH cluster cases during their infectious period, started on 3 May. As there was a high take-up rate of swab tests among the eligible individuals, the Regional Screening Centres (RSCs) extended their operating hours that day, including staying open throughout lunch time to swab more individuals.
To cope with the numbers and mitigate over-crowding, the RSCs also increased their capacities. Queue numbers were distributed onsite so that individuals could come back to the RSCs later in the day, or on subsequent days for their swab tests. As of 6 May, appointment for swabs at the RSCs can also be made via https://go.gov.sg/covid-19-
Since 3 May, the Ministry of Health has also included Raffles Hospital as one of the sites where eligible individuals can receive a free swab test from 3 May until 16 May.
Members of the public are advised to call the Swab and Send Home (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) to make a swab appointment in advance. While children aged 12 years old and below are not eligible to be swabbed at RSCs, they may be swabbed at SASH sites that are able to support swabbing for children, with the consent of the parents. The list of select clinics can be found at https://phpc.gov.sg under “SASH for children”.
Ruth Lim (Dr)
Director, Primary & Community Care Division
Ministry of Health
Koh Peng Keng (Mr)
Chief Operating Officer, Programmes and Outreach
Health Promotion Board