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Weekly PCR tests for border frontline workers who may come into contact with travellers from Omicron-affected areas

Weekly PCR tests for border frontline workers who may come into contact with travellers from Omicron-affected areas

Changi Airport workers wearing personal protective equipment at Terminal 3, Jun 7, 2021. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

SINGAPORE: From Dec 2, airport and border frontline workers who may come into contact with travellers from regions affected by the Omicron COVID-19 variant will have to return to a weekly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) rostered routine testing (RRT) regime.

This is because Singapore’s borders are the “first line of defence against importation of the Omicron variant”, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a news release on Tuesday (Nov 30).

Currently, depending on their risk category, airport workers are required to undergo RRT using antigen rapid tests (ARTs) once or twice every seven days.

Speaking at a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce, co-chair Lawrence Wong described the return to a weekly PCR-RRT as a “step up”.

He also referred to border frontline workers as “employees who are working in the airports, or the other sea and land checkpoints, or anyone working in the borders that may come into contact with travellers.”

MOH also added that aircrew serving flights from affected countries will be subjected to an on-arrival PCR test, as well as post-arrival PCR tests on days 3 and 7 after each flight duty.

Other airport and border frontline workers will continue with the existing ART-based RRT regime. But “as an added precaution”, such individuals with a positive ART will have to undergo a confirmatory PCR test.

The ministry added that all border frontline workers, including recovered persons, will need to undergo the RRT.

“This will allow us to better detect potential cases infected with the Omicron variant at our border in a timely manner.”

Watch the full news conference, including the Q&A session with journalists:

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Source: CNA/cl(gr)

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