Singapore

Cost of Covid-19 testing has dropped from $80 to less than $50

The cost of rapid Covid-19 testing has dropped from $80 per person - when such test kits were first deployed - to under $50 now, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday.

The costs of the antigen rapid testing, which include operation and manpower costs, are likely to come down further, he added.

"Over time, we can expect more innovative rapid test kits that are cheaper, faster and more convenient to administer," Mr Wong told Parliament in a ministerial statement on Singapore's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"These will enable us to test more extensively and conveniently, to detect positive cases and protect our population more comprehensively."

Antigen rapid testing has been used as a pre-event safety measure for large-scale activities. It complements the more sensitive, but slower polymerase chain reaction tests.

The minister stressed that frequent and widespread testing is an important enabler for Singapore to detect coronavirus cases early, adding that testing will be ramped up in the coming months.

Singaporeans must start getting used to the idea of regular testing being a part of their lives during the pandemic, he said.

On average, more than 14,000 individuals were tested every week last month. This was how several recent cases were picked up, he added.

The minister, who co-chairs the multi-ministerial task force in charge of tackling the Covid-19 crisis, also underscored the importance of sticking to safe management measures even as Singapore is in phase three of its reopening.

Strict social distancing measures were eased on Dec 28, meaning Singaporeans could gather in groups larger than five - but not more than eight - for the first time in months.

Mr Wong said: "Unfortunately, there are a few who persist in pushing their luck and disregarding the rules.

"We have stepped up checks over the festive period. Firm enforcement actions have been and will continue to be taken against any breaches."

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