Singapore to Trial Quicker Testing Method for Migrant Workers


Singapore is seeking to reduce the amount of time it takes to regularly check migrant workers for coronavirus infection by piloting the use of antigen rapid tests.

For a period of four weeks, a group of 1,000 migrant workers will undergo antigen rapid testing every seven days, the Ministry of Manpower said in a statement Sunday. That’s in addition to the polymerase chain reaction test that they receive every 2 weeks. The new method potentially allows infected workers to be isolated more quickly, reducing the risk of the virus spreading to other residents in dormitories.

Singapore is distributing contact-trace tokens and bolstering the testing of workers after infections in dormitories exacerbated the outbreak earlier this year. Airports are also studying rapid antigen checks, which look for the presence of the virus’s proteins, making them quicker and cheaper but less accurate than established methods that detect its nucleic acids. The better-known polymerase chain reaction tests have been regarded as the gold standard for Covid testing.

Polymerase chain reaction tests, however, take a day to confirm results, while antigen rapid tests indicate if a person is positive within half an hour, the ministry said. It will evaluate the effectiveness of the trial and assess the suitability of including it into regular routine testing for workers.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.