Singapore

170 Covid-19 swab booths trialled at clinics

Swab booths are now located at 170 clinics islandwide to allow testing for those showing signs of Covid-19 infection, while guarding the safety of general practitioners, clinic staff and other patients.

The move is in line with the national effort to ramp up Singapore's testing capacities.

The clinics are part of a network of 900 Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), of which 400 are equipped to allow anyone aged 13 and above diagnosed with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms to get tested for the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health had previously said the strategy is to test everyone diagnosed with ARI once there is sufficient testing capacity.

LIGHTWEIGHT & MOBILE

The swab booths, built using an aluminium frame and polycarbonate panels, are lightweight and mobile. They were developed by local engineering company ATC, and sponsored by Temasek Foundation.

Known as Cosmo-Slim, they have been on trial since end-July to equip PHPCs with safe and effective mobile swabbing capabilities, said Temasek Foundation chief executive Ng Boon Heong.

He added that the booths allow the 170 clinics to be "better protected while swabbing patients displaying symptoms of acute respiratory infections immediately at their clinic's practice, without having to send them to another location".

Swab tests are also available at regional screening centres, a network the Health Promotion Board is expanding.

With testing capacities enhanced, the load on other facilities such as hospitals will be lessened, said doctors.

Dr Teo Boon See said having one at her Camry Medical Centre clinic in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh makes swabbing more convenient for her patients while ensuring the safety of the staff involved.

She added that patients who may be squeamish about getting swabbed would also be more comfortable if their GPs administer the test.

GPs can direct patients who require a swab test to selected PHPCs in the Swab and Send Home (Sash) programme as well as polyclinics.

For patients to receive a free consultation and swab test, they must arrive at their referred Sash PHPC within 48 hours. Otherwise, rates normally charged under the Flu Subsidy Scheme or Community Health Assist Scheme will apply.

coronavirus