Rapid Covid-19 Tests Being Tried Out On Migrant Workers, They’ll Be Tested Every 7 Days

1,000 Workers From Tuas Lodge Get To Try Rapid Covid-19 Tests First

In order to open up Singapore as much as possible amid the Covid-19 pandemic, rapid testing has been identified as essential.

As our migrant workers still represent the biggest risk of virus spread due to their living in close proximity to one another, it’s important that they’re tested as often and as quickly as possible.

Thus, the antigen rapid testing is being trialled on a select group of workers, in preparation for its use in the general population.

Photo courtesy of MOM

Additional test on the 7th day

Currently, all migrant workers who live in dormitories, as well as those working in the construction, marine and process sectors, are tested every 14 days.

This is under the Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) system.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Sunday (25 Oct), workers on the trial will be additionally tested on the 7th day in between the RRT tests, using the antigen rapid test.

That means they’ll be tested every 7 days — alternating between the normal swab test and antigen rapid test.

Photo courtesy of MOM

This is on top of constantly wearing a version of the TraceTogether token.

1,000 Tuas Lodge workers up first

On 18 Oct, 1,000 workers in from the SCM Tuas Lodge dormitory started the trial.

Workers in the dorm at 80 Tuas South Boulevard will undergo such testing every 7 days, MOM said.


After the trial, the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group and Ministry of Health (MOH) will determine the test’s effectiveness, with a view towards and its suitability in RRT.

Rapid test has many advantages

There are several benefits to using the rapid test on migrant workers.

As Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan demonstrated on himself on Thursday (22 Oct), the test is simple to do and less uncomfortable, too.

Another obvious boon is their speed — results can come out in 30 minutes, compared with a day for the normal swab tests.

Thus, when the result comes out faster, it’s much less likely that an infected person will go on to infect others.

Photo courtesy of MOM

That’s because those who test positive can be isolated almost immediately after the test, and sent for the more accurate swab test.

When fewer people are potentially infected, fewer people need to be quarantined — that means disruption to their work will be minimal.

Photo courtesy of MOM

A quick poke to get to the new normal

The antigen rapid test seems to be a game changer in Singapore’s fight to contain Covid-19.

Not only will it help us return to staging mass events earlier, it’ll also help us open our borders more quickly.

While it makes sense that migrant workers get them first as they’re the most vulnerable to the virus, let’s hope that it’ll be used in the general public soon.

If that happens, all it will take for life to get back to near normal is a quick poke.

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Featured images from MOM.

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