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Households in Singapore to receive 12 COVID-19 ART kits from Nov 21

This is the fourth national distribution of ART kits to households.

Households in Singapore to receive 12 COVID-19 ART kits from Nov 21

File photo of a COVID-19 ART self-test. (File photo: AFP/Damien Meyer)

SINGAPORE: Each household in Singapore will receive 12 antigen rapid test (ART) kits from Nov 21 as part of efforts to encourage people to test themselves for COVID-19 if they are unwell.

This is the fourth national distribution of ART kits to households.

"As it is the peak holiday season and there is a high volume of ART kits being delivered, we seek the public’s understanding that some households may receive kits later than others," said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (Nov 4).

Regular self-testing is a key line of defence in Singapore's approach towards COVID-19 to enable early detection and isolation, said the ministry. 

This is especially so if people are unwell, coming back from overseas travel or before visiting vulnerable groups such as the elderly. 

"As reinfections become more common, those who experience symptoms like cough, sore throat, runny nose or fever, after 28 days from their previous infection, should also test themselves for COVID-19," the Health Ministry said.

It added that those who test negative but feel unwell should also reduce social interactions as they may have other respiratory viruses such as influenza.

For lower-income households who may require more ART kits beyond what the ministry is providing, MOH said the Government will continue to support them. 

Beneficiaries of Social Service Offices and Family Service Centres may continue to request additional test kits at those locations. 

The Health Ministry will also work with the Ministry of Education and the Early Childhood Development Agency to provide additional test kits to students from lower-income households. 

The Government first distributed ART kits to households in August and September last year.

The previous round was in July when 10 kits were delivered to each household amid a wave of COVID-19 cases.

MULTIPLE SUBVARIANTS CIRCULATING GLOBALLY

On Friday, the Health Ministry noted that there are now multiple COVID-19 subvariants circulating globally, and new variants may form.

"With the recovery in international travel, a new highly transmissible variant can enter and spread in Singapore without much advance warning," it said. 

Apart from regular self-testing, COVID-19 vaccination is Singapore's first line of defence, said MOH, as it announced that the bivalent COVID-19 booster shot will be extended to eligible individuals aged 18 to 49 from next Monday. 

"With the latest extension, all adults aged 18 years and above should ensure that they keep up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination," said MOH. 

This means that after achieving minimum protection, they should receive an additional booster dose between five months and one year from their last dose. The updated bivalent vaccines are recommended for this. 

The third line of defence is personal and social responsibility.

"Living with COVID-19 means we must become used to a resurgence of cases due to a new variant from time to time," the ministry said.

"We must take appropriate measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, such as by keeping our vaccinations up to date, testing when necessary and maintaining personal hygiene."

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its developments

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Source: CNA/lk(gs)
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