Singapore

Smooth going at first pre-event rapid testing for Covid-19

Energy Week conference sees 215 people tested yesterday, with little fuss

The opening of the Singapore International Energy Week 2020 yesterday saw the first pre-event Covid-19 swabbing taking place.

A pilot run of pre-event testing using antigen rapid tests was announced last Tuesday by the multi-ministry task force dealing with the pandemic.

At the time, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said a successful pilot run might contribute towards a loosening of limits on group sizes for social gatherings.

But he cautioned that the tests, which are less sensitive than the polymerase chain reaction tests used conventionally, may not be able to catch every single Covid-19 case, and that safe distancing measures would still be needed.

Organised by the Energy Market Authority, the event is a week-long platform for energy professionals and policymakers to discuss and share strategic perspectives on issues in the industry and their impact.

At the Sands Expo and Convention Centre yesterday, where the event is being held, there were no long queues or crowds typically associated with Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events.

Signs were present on various levels of the centre reminding participants to download the TraceTogether app. TraceTogether tokens were also provided at the entrance to the hall.

After checking in with SafeEntry and having their temperature taken, participants entered a main hall where they were separated into zones for swabbing.

Each zone had its own set of swabbing stations and a screening registration counter, where participants received a confirmation SMS from the Ministry of Health and a set of labels for their tests.

They were then seated at a swabbing station, where a swabber explained the process and carried out the procedure.

Participants had a swab stick inserted about 2.5cm up their nostrils and twirled several times, and were then told to wait for the results, which were sent through SMS. The seats for testing were wiped down and sanitised after each test.

Around 215 tests were carried out yesterday. No one tested positive.

"I think it is bearable and quite fast, and the (swabber) was very gentle. I am quite happy with it, I worried for nothing," said Ms Jen Tan, senior vice-president of solar for Singapore and South-east Asia in the energy division at Sembcorp Solar Singapore.

coronavirus