With the steadily increasing number of COVID-19 cases lately, it pays to be extra sure.
Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can collect self-test kits at 100 vending machines across 56 locations in Singapore from Saturday (September 18).
According to the Ministry of Health, these antigen rapid test (ART) kits will be available for collection around the clock from machines placed in various housing estates, including Choa Chu Kang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Pasir Ris.
Here’s how it works
From 18 September 2021, if you receive an SMS a health risk warning (HRW) or health risk alert (HRA), all you have to do is follow the instructions given by the MOH on the testing regime.
There are slight differences between an HRW and HRA, so you need to pay close attention to what kind of SMS you receive.
A health risk warning is issued to those who have been in close proximity with a Covid-19 case for an extended period or are identified as a close contact of a case, based on SafeEntry data.
A health risk alert is also sent to people whose SafeEntry records from the past 14 days overlap with those of a Covid-19 case. This group of people are considered to be at a lower risk of infection compared to those issued with a health risk warning.
Steps for HRW
The process of collection is simple and efficient. All you need to do is scan your NRIC or FIN to collect a pack containing three ART self-test kits at the vending machines and use them for self-testing to fulfil the requirement for HRW.
Those who receive an HRW SMS notification must get an entry polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a Swab and Send Home clinic or private practitioner, and self-isolate until they receive a negative result from their first PCR test.
They will also be required to perform self-administered ART tests on the third, fifth and seventh day from the day of last exposure to the Covid-19 case with whom they were close contacts.
They must also do another PCR test on or after the eighth day at a SASH clinic or private practitioner, said MOH.
“If all these are complied with, their HRW period will end on the 10th day of exposure. All swab costs will be borne by the Government,” said MOH.
Steps for HRA
If you receive an HRA SMS notification, you should perform a self-administered ART test on the first, third and fifth day from the day of last exposure. You should also monitor their health until the 10th day of exposure.
“We urge all on HRA to exercise social responsibility and limit their interactions with other persons during that period,” stressed MOH.
ART self-test kits have already been distributed to residential households from August 28.
“I encourage everyone to do the self-tests… I think using them will be a new habit in this Covid-19 new normal,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a virtual interview today.
The ART tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, but they can help pick up cases quickly and prevent onward transmission of the virus, he added.
Given that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, these vending machines dispensing these ART self-test kits are helpful for sure. You can find the full list of collection points and the steps needed to get the test kits here.
Featured Image Credit: Ministry of Health