Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on May 31 that DIY Covid-19 test kits will soon be available at Watsons, Guardian and Unity pharmacies in Singapore.
Unlike nasal and throat swabs, the DIY test kit doesn't require the help of swabs or healthcare professionals, and Singaporeans can do the test themselves at home.
Following its announcement, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced today (June 10) that, starting June 16, four brands of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kits (ART) will be sold by pharmacists for self-testing.
These include the Abbott PanBio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test, the QuickVue OTC COVID-19 Test at Home, the SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self-Test Nasal, and the SD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag -Home test.
These self-test kits have received preliminary approval from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for sale to the general public.
According to MOH, these test kits are easy to use and self-administered.
“Starting next week, June 16, these kits will be available from pharmacists to select retail pharmacies. We will then gradually open ourselves to counter sales at other retail locations, ”said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung at a press conference of the multi-ministerial task force.
Sales will initially be limited to 10 ART kits per person to ensure "sufficient supplies for everyone," added Health Department Medical Services Director Kenneth Mak.
However, as more retail supplies become available, authorities will "finally allow free purchase of test kits," he said.
Mak added that the self-test kits "complement" Singapore's overall surveillance strategy.
"These quick and easy-to-use tests allow us to identify infected cases faster, especially in people who do not have symptoms of acute respiratory infection but are concerned that they may have been exposed to COVID-19," he said.
What happens if the result is negative?
These self-test kits can provide results in less than 20 minutes.
Those who get a positive result on these self-test kits should contact a Smear and Home Health Clinic (SASH PHPC) immediately for a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
You will then need to self-isolate until you get a negative PCR test result.
In the meantime, those who test negative for ART on their self-test should remain vigilant and follow safe management practices prevailing.
"People with ARI symptoms should continue to see a doctor for a full diagnosis and a PCR test instead of relying on an ART self-test kit," the ministry said.
Photo credit for the featured image: iStock