Singapore’s Ministry of Health has disclosed that it is piloting a virtually supervised COVID-19 antigen rapid test to assess its feasibility.
The government has teamed up with local telehealth startup Doctor Anywhere to offer rapid test supervision via 30-minute video consultations. Doctor Anywhere just launched tele-ART, a supervised self-swab test service, last week.
In the consultation, a user must ensure that the contents of the antigen rapid test kit are visible so these can be verified by a supervisor. They must also insert a swab stick to a depth of around 2.5 cm in the nostril. A provider will then send the test result via text and e-mail within four hours.
WHY IT MATTERS
The MOH is seeking options to facilitate regular self-testing and complement its network of physical test sites as the island city-state moves towards living with COVID-19, a news report by The Straits Times noted.
It was said that the supervised test service will be convenient for travellers coming to Singapore who are required to take their COVID-19 tests, as well as for those leaving the country.
According to the report, around a thousand have already availed of the teleconsultation service a week after its launch. Doctor Anywhere aims to capture about 30% of the demand for supervised self-swab tests.
The MOH said the outcomes of the pilot programme will inform licensing requirements and safeguards for supervised testing via video.
As of Monday, Singapore recorded nearly 300,000 COVID-19 cases with around 800 deaths. The island nation has fully vaccinated almost nine in ten of its total population with about half already getting their booster shots.