With the growing number of COVID-19 cases lately, it pays to be safe.
Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can collect self-test kits at 100 vending machines at 56 locations in Singapore as of Saturday (September 18th).
According to the Department of Health, these rapid antigen testing kits (ARTs) will be available for all-day collection from machines set up in a variety of residential neighborhoods, including Choa Chu Kang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Pasir Ris.
Here’s how it works
From 18 September 2021, if you receive an SMS with a Health Risk Warning (HRW) or a Health Risk Warning (HRA), all you need to do is follow the MZ instructions on the testing regime.
There are small differences between HRW and HRA, so you need to pay close attention to what kind of SMS you are receiving.
A health risk warning is issued to those who have been in the immediate vicinity of the Covid-19 case for a long time or have been identified as close contact with the case, based on SafeEntry data.
A health risk alert is also sent to people whose SafeEntry data has overlapped with the Covid-19 case data in the past 14 days. This group of people is considered to be at lower risk of infection compared to those who have been issued a health risk warning.
Steps for HRW
The collection process is simple and efficient. All you need to do is scan your NRIC or FIN to collect the package containing the three ART self-test sets on the vending machine and use them for self-testing to qualify for HRW.
Those who receive an HRW SMS notification must go through the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) input chain to a swab and send clinic at home or at a private clinic, and isolate themselves until they get a negative result from the first PCR test.
They will also be required to conduct ART tests themselves on the third, fifth and seventh day from the day of the last exposure to the Covid-19 case with which they were in close contact.
They have to do another PCR test on the eighth day or after that at the SASH clinic or at a private doctor, MOH said.
“If all this is respected, their HRW period will end on the tenth day of exposure. All the costs of the swab will be borne by the Government “, said the local community.
Steps for HRA
If you receive an HRA SMS notification, you should perform a self-administered ART test on the first, third, and fifth days from the date of the last exposure. You should also monitor their health until the 10th day of exposure.
“We call on all HRAs to implement social responsibility and limit their interaction with other people in that period,” the MoH emphasized.
ART self-test kits have already been distributed to residential households as of August 28th.
“I call on everyone to self-test … I think their use will be a new habit in this new normalcy on Covid-19,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a virtual interview today.
ART tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, but they can help collect cases quickly and prevent further virus transmission, he added.
Given that the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise, these vending machines that issue these ART self-test kits are certainly helpful. You can find a complete list of collection points and the steps required to purchase a test kit here.
Featured image: Ministry of Health