Workers at Toh Guan Dormitory to be tested for Covid-19 more often

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SINGAPORE – Residents at Toh Guan Dormitory will be undertaking additional routine testing for Covid-19 as part of a pilot programme to understand the impact of more frequent testing on earlier detection of asymptomatic cases among migrant workers.

In a statement, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (Sept 23) that all foreign workers staying in dormitories currently need to undergo rostered routine testing (RRT) every 14 days.

This is part of a multi-layered strategy for effective prevention of new infections.

However, over a period of four weeks from Sept 25, the government will trial an additional round of testing, on top of the existing 14-day RRT cycle, for residents in Toh Guan Dormitory.

“This will effectively increase the testing frequency to a seven day cycle. New infections can then be detected earlier, and the spread contained more quickly,” said the ministries.

To minimise the impact on the migrant workers’ work schedule, the pilot will be conducted within the dormitory.

Instead of the usual nasopharyngeal swab, a new oropharynx/mid-turbinate nasal method of swabbing will be used as it is more comfortable.

With nasopharyngeal swabs, a swab is inserted all the way up the nose to the back of a person’s nasal cavity. Some people have complained of discomfort when undergoing this.

The new method involves a swab taken from the back of the throat, as well as another swab taken from partially up the nose, which is reportedly less uncomfortable.

The ministries added that with the earlier detection of new infections, MOM may not require an entire block of a dormitory to be quarantined should there be a Covid-19 positive case, as long as safe living measures are complied with.

“This will enable a more targeted quarantine approach that will minimise the disruption to workers and employers,” said the ministries.


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