Singapore conducting pilot for virtually supervised Covid-19 antigen rapid tests


SINGAPORE: Those who must take a supervised Covid-19 antigen rapid check (ART) can now achieve this over video session with a non-public healthcare supplier. The outcomes will likely be despatched to customers of the service through SMS and e-mail as shortly as inside 4 hours.

A pilot programme to evaluate the feasibility of real-time virtually supervised self-swab ARTs is being performed, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) informed The Straits Times on Sunday (Jan 16).

MOH mentioned it’s wanting into increasing the choices to facilitate common self-testing and to enrich its existing network of physical test centres as Singapore transitions in the direction of dwelling with Covid-19.

The pilot programme includes healthcare startup Doctor Anywhere, which launched its tele-ART service final Tuesday.

The service makes it extra handy for individuals returning on vaccinated journey lane flights to take their day three and day seven tests.

The outcomes for virtually supervised pre-event and pre-departure tests are additionally legitimate, relying on the necessities of the vacation spot nations.

To e-book a tele-ART appointment, members of the general public should obtain the Doctor Anywhere app.

Doctor Anywhere costs S$12.84 (RM39.83) for the service, which doesn’t embody ART kits.

During the 30-minute session, the particular person taking the check must hold his video digital camera on and make sure that the ART package is seen in order that outcomes will be verified by the swab supervisor.

Ivin Yew, director of tasks and technique at Doctor Anywhere, informed ST that precautionary measures are taken to make sure that Covid-19 check outcomes are correct.

For occasion, earlier than the check begins, customers will likely be requested to examine that every one components of the ART package, such because the swab stick and testing reagent, are unopened.

The swab stick can even must be inserted to a depth of about 2.5cm within the nostril.

Dr Raymond Ong, a senior physician at Doctor Anywhere, informed ST that it’s hoping to serve 1,000 customers within the first week of the launch of the tele-consultations. He hopes the service will be capable of meet roughly 30 per cent of the demand for supervised self-swab ARTs.

Dr Ong mentioned: “We see an acute need to make Covid-19 testing more widely available and accessible. For us to get back some sense of normalcy, it is important that we ensure testing is blended into our normal lives.”

MOH mentioned that the outcomes of this pilot will inform the licensing necessities and safeguards wanted to make sure the veracity of check outcomes from virtually supervised testing.

Infectious illness consultants mentioned that this pilot will make it extra handy and safer for individuals to take a Covid-19 check.

Checks by ST on Monday discovered that there have been no queues at numerous fast check centres.

Associate Professor Jeremy Lim from the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health mentioned: “Remote supervision is much cheaper and more convenient compared with the hassle of (doing so) in person.

“There is also the additional benefit of safety as we avoid persons congregating in confined spaces and increasing the risk of Covid-19 infection, particularly with Omicron which is more infectious.”

Associate Professor Sophia Archuleta, head and senior marketing consultant at National University Hospital’s division of infectious ailments, mentioned: “The last two years of the pandemic have accelerated the adoption of telemedicine and the model can be expanded should the need arise with the healthcare system under stress with Omicron.”

Prof Archuleta mentioned: “This shift is another step towards living with Covid-19 and avoiding the unnecessary medicalisation of a simple test that can be performed at home.” – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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