Singapore

Covid-19 testing lab to open at Changi Airport next year

A new Covid-19 testing lab at Changi Airport is slated to open in the first quarter of next year and will use a test kit that can shorten the time needed for results from 2½ to 1½ hours.

The wait may be even shorter for travellers from countries deemed to have lower risks of Covid-19 infection, as the authorities are looking into making them undergo less sensitive but quicker tests, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said yesterday.

Changi Airport can currently test up to 10,000 samples a day by tapping external labs and can double this capacity if required.

Mr Ong said speeding up the process was a key consideration for setting up the new lab.

"You don't have to transport the samples from Changi to the lab, which saves a lot of time," he added.

The facility will use the Resolute 2.0 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kit jointly developed by DSO National Laboratories and Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

PCR test kits are the gold standard in terms of accuracy but are more costly and take slightly longer to process than other options such as antigen rapid tests .

On whether other options could be used, Mr Ong said: "As long as it is high enough in terms of sensitivity, it works. At some point, for safer countries, it could be (testing by) breathalyser." - THE STRAITS TIMES

coronavirus