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Press Release on Pilot Of Additional Routine Covid Tests To Detect Asymptomatic Cases Early

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Health (MOH) will be undertaking additional routine testing for COVID-19 at Toh Guan Dormitory, as a pilot to understand how more frequent testing will enable earlier detection of asymptomatic cases among migrant workers.

  2. Currently, all migrant workers staying in dormitories need to undergo Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) every 14 days.  This is part of a multi-layered strategy for effective prevention of new infections. Over a period of four weeks from 25 September 2020, MOM and MOH will be piloting an additional round of testing, on top of the existing 14 day RRT cycle for residents in the dormitory. This will effectively increase the testing frequency to a 7 day cycle. New infections can then be detected earlier, and the spread contained more quickly.

  3. To minimise the impact on the work schedule of the migrant workers, the pilot will be conducted within the dormitory. Instead of the usual nasopharyngeal swab, a new Oropharynx/ Mid-turbinate nasal method of swabbing will be used. This method of swabbing will be more comfortable for the workers. 
     
  4. With the earlier detection of new infections, MOM may not require the entire block of the dormitory to be quarantined should there be a COVID-19 positive case, as long as Safe Living Measures are complied with.  This will enable a more targeted quarantine approach that will minimise the disruption to workers and employers.