Singapore expands virus testing regime

Singapore will offer free coronavirus tests to community groups such as taxi drivers, food delivery workers and hawkers as part of efforts to expand the COVID-19 testing regime, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has said.

While there has been "no local evidence" that these groups are at a higher risk of being infected, they will be offered tests "given the nature of their working environment, such as the high frequency of interactions with the members of the public", the MOH said.

The costs of the tests will be fully borne by the government, it said on Saturday, adding that authorities will reach out to the groups progressively.

The ministry on Sunday reported 54 new COVID-19 cases.

The new cases included eight cases from the community and seven imported. The rest were migrant workers. To date, Singapore has 56,771 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

With 110 more patients discharged from hospitals, 55,447 have fully recovered from the infection.

Meanwhile, the MOH has also reiterated that makeshift face coverings such as bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters should not be used, as per the recommendations of the multi-ministry task force tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noting that there have been recent queries on the efficacy of such makeshift coverings in preventing disease transmission, the MOH said that they may not perform as well as purpose-built masks as they may not have a good fit around the wearer's nose and mouth and are made from materials that are not specific for disease prevention.

"A mask should be worn such that it closely and completely covers the wearer's nose and mouth, without leaving a gap between the mask and the face," the ministry added.

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