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COVID-19 tests taken by travellers from India must come from 'recognised labs': MOH

COVID-19 tests taken by travellers from India must come from 'recognised labs': MOH

A healthcare worker collects a swab from a passenger for a rapid antigen test upon his arrival at a railway station, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ahmedabad, India, September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Amit Dave

SINGAPORE: The negative COVID-19 test result that selected travellers from India must produce for entry into Singapore has to come from a "recognised" laboratory in India, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (Sep 23).

These approved laboratories which process the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results must be "internationally accredited or recognised by the Indian Government", the ministry said, in response to CNA's queries.

This pre-departure test applies to travellers who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

All travellers from India who are allowed entry must serve a 14-day stay-home notice at a dedicated facility.

And from Wednesday, these travellers will also be required to take a serology test during the 14-day period. 

Serological tests are tests that look for antibodies - formed by the body to fight off infections - in blood samples. The presence of antibodies will indicate if a person had previously been infected with COVID-19.

As detailed on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's website, some may also be required to take a COVID-19 swab test before their stay-home notice period is over, depending on their serology test results.

MOH said that there are two levels of checks for the negative COVID-19 test results needed for entry into Singapore - at the airport in India prior to boarding and at arrival immigration in Singapore. 

"Travellers found without the required valid documents will be refused entry into Singapore," MOH said, adding that those who present forged documents to seek entry into Singapore could be barred from entering the country in the future.

READ: Pre-departure COVID-19 tests to be required for travellers from India who are not Singapore residents

READ: 12 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 1 community infection

Singapore's multi-ministry task force that deals with COVID-19 announced on Sep 9 that from Sep 17, travellers with recent travel history to India and who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents would be required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departing.

The announcement came amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in India. Singapore had observed a significant number of imported cases with recent travel history to India, MOH said then.

The requirement applies to those arriving in Singapore from midnight on Sep 17, on top of existing terms that require such travellers to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities and a negative COVID-19 test before the end of the notice. 

"This covers the full incubation period of COVID-19, and has been effective in preventing spread into our local community," MOH said.

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Source: CNA/nh(ac)


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