Rapid Covid-19 Test Kit Worked On By US Firm That’ll Invest $178 Million In S’pore

As Singapore tries to restart our aviation sector amid the still-ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a quick way to test visitors for Covid-19 is necessary.

For example, travellers from Brunei and New Zealand can just take a Covid-19 test, and won’t need to serve a Stay-Home Notice if it’s negative.

That’s why it’s good news that the Singapore-based team at medical technology company Becton Dickinson & Co. is working on a rapid Covid-19 test to help facilitate these tests on travellers so our airports can get back to normal business quickly.

Image for illustration purposes only.
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Becton’s S’pore team overseeing rapid test kit

The news was announced by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing during a visit to Becton’s Singapore office on Wednesday (26 Aug).

He was accompanied by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran.

In Mr Chan’s opening remarks during the visit, he said the Becton’s Singapore team was coordinating and overseeing the manufacturing of the rapid test kit.

Such a test kit would be “especially critical for our economic recovery”, Mr Chan said.

That’s because it would help Singapore reopen Singapore’s airports and aviation sector more quickly, so we can resume international travel in a safe way.

The 3 ministers looking at Becton’s rapid Covid-19 test kit.
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Becton will build blood culture media product facility

The United States-based company will also be building a new manufacturing facility in Singapore.

It will produce blood culture media product that can be used in hospitals in Singapore as well as abroad.

It will also expand its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, which mean it will broaden its manufacturing capability to other product lines.

New investments will create more jobs

All the new investments the company is making in Singapore amount to a total of US$130 million (S$178 million), Mr Chan said.

They will also create more than 300 new jobs in the next few years for Singaporeans.

Our local businesses will also have increased opportunities as a result, he added.

Mr Chan also said biomedical sector companies’ investments should help create more than 1,300 jobs in Singapore within the next 3 to 5 years.

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Becton employs 1,400 workers in S’pore

Becton, which has been in Singapore for 31 years, currently employs about 1,400 workers

Of these, more than 60% of them are Singaporeans and permanent residents, Mr Chan said.

Among the PMET jobs in Becton, the proportion of Singaporeans and PRs is closer to 80%, he added.

More jobs available in manufacturing

Mrs Teo also highlighted the increased number of jobs available in the manufacturing sector in a Facebook post on Thursday (27 Aug).

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She said almost 1,000 manufacturing companies will offer more than 6,300 job, traineeship, attachment, and training opportunities to locals under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills programmes.

Within the manufacturing sector, companies in the biomedical sciences industry like Becton also offer traineeships for jobseekers without specialised skillsets or prior experience.

Career progression is also possible, Mrs Teo said, giving the example of a Becton staff who worked his way up from a technical specialist to the leader of its Tuas Manufacturing Plant.

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S’pore’s economy gets a boost from Becton

Thanks to companies like Becton, our economy may be able to recover more quickly.

With its rapid Covid-19 test kit, not only will we be able to screen visitors more effectively, Singaporeans may also get screened faster.

Till then, we’ll have to wait patiently for the travel restrictions to be progressively relaxed.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.