S’poreans can quickly gather ART self-test kits at 100 merchandising machines

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Given the steadily increasing number of COVID-19 cases recently, it pays to be extra safe.

Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 will be able to collect self-test kits from 100 vending machines in 56 Singapore locations starting Saturday (September 18).

According to the Department of Health, these rapid antigen test kits (ART) are picked up around the clock from vending machines in various housing developments, including Choa Chu Kang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Pasir Ris.

This is how it works

If you receive a Health Risk Alert (HRW) or Health Risk Alert (HRA) by SMS from September 18, 2021, all you have to do is follow the instructions of the MOH on the test regime.

There are slight differences between an HRW and an HRA so you need to be very careful about the type of SMS you are receiving.

A health risk warning is issued to those who have been in the immediate vicinity of a Covid-19 case for an extended period of time or who are identified as close contact with a case based on SafeEntry data.

A health risk alert is also sent to people whose SafeEntry records from the last 14 days overlap with those of a Covid-19 case. This group of people has a lower risk of infection than people with a health warning.

Steps for HRW

The collection process is simple and efficient. All you have to do is scan your NRIC or FIN to collect a pack of three ART self-test kits from the machine and use them for the self-test to meet the HRW requirement.

Those who receive an HRW SMS notification must do a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a Swab and Send Home clinic or private doctor and self-isolate until they get a negative result on their first PCR test.

You will also need to do self-administered ART tests on the third, fifth and seventh day after the last contact with the Covid-19 case with which you had close contact.

You’ll also need to do another PCR test at a SASH clinic or private doctor on or after day eight, MOH said.

“If all of these are followed, your HRW period ends on day 10 of exposure. All smear costs are borne by the government, ”said MOH.

Steps for HRA

If you receive an HRA SMS notification, you should have a self-administered ART test on the first, third and fifth days from the day of your last exposure. You should also monitor their health up to day 10 of exposure.

“We urge everyone at HRA to take social responsibility and limit their interactions with other people during this time,” emphasized MOH.

ART self-test kits were already being distributed to households from August 28th.

“I encourage everyone to do the self-tests … I think their use will be a new habit in this new normal of Covid-19,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a virtual interview today.

ART tests aren’t as accurate as PCR tests, but they can help identify cases quickly and prevent further transmission of the virus, he added.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising, these vending machines that dispense these ART self-test kits are sure to be helpful. Here is the full list of collection points and the steps required to obtain the test kits.

Featured image Source: Ministry of Health

Also read: First Singpass-enabled alcohol dispenser introduced in S’pore, more to come soon

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