Mandatory testing for 2,000 who were in contact with KTV cluster cases

·3 min read
A healthcare worker dressed in personal protective equipment administers a swab test at a COVID-19 testing centre on June 20, 2021 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A healthcare worker dressed in personal protective equipment administers a swab test at a COVID-19 testing centre on 20 June, 2021 in Singapore. (PHOTO: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Those who have come into contact with COVID-19 cases from the KTV cluster will be legally required to get tested for the virus and self-isolate until they get a negative result.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (16 July) said, during a virtual press conference chaired by the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce, that this will affect "about 2,000 members of the public who (have) come into contact with the confirmed cases so far".

He added, "We are not saying these individuals visited KTV lounges, but they could have come into contact with the confirmed cases, anywhere."

The "aggressive ringfencing" measure is introduced to mitigate the risk of wider and undetected community transmission linked to the KTV cluster, which now has 120 cases. It is by far the largest community cluster in Singapore to be recorded, superseding Changi Airport Terminal 3's 108 cases.

Two PCR tests required

The affected individuals – whom the Ministry of Health (MOH) said will receive a "Health Risk Warning" via SMS – will need to tested at a designated testing centre and self-isolate until they receive a negative test from their first polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

As those who test negative could still be incubating the virus, they should still limit their interactions with others as an added precaution for 14 days from their last exposure and only undertake essential activities during this period, said the MOH.

Additionally, they will be issued with self-test Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits when they come forward to do their first PCR test, which they will be required to self-administer on the seventh day from the last exposure to confirm that they are not infected.

They will also be required to undergo another PCR test at designated testing centres around the 14th day from their date of last known exposure for assurance that they are not incubating the virus, added the MOH.

Encouraging others to monitor their health, limit interactions

"We will also be sending a 'Health Risk Alert' via SMS to individuals who have visited the locations where these nightlife establishments operating as F&B establishments are located in, or at other similar establishments flagged out by the Singapore Police Force," it said.

Unlike the “Health Risk Warning”, these individuals are not subject to actions required by the law, but should monitor their health and limit their interactions with others for 14 days from their last exposure as an added precaution.

They are encouraged to also purchase self-test ART kits from retail pharmacies and do self-tests regularly over the 14 days, said the MOH.

Individuals who have recently visited such nightlife establishments now operating as F&B establishments or interacted with social hostesses in any settings, or both, between 29 June to Thursday are to come forward for a free swab test, it added.

They may also go to a private clinic and pay for tests. Those who develop symptoms, such as cough, runny nose or fever, should see their doctor immediately.

Some 2,480 individuals have been placed under quarantine, while 1,660 people - those who visited the KTV joints or came into contact with the social hostesses in any setting - have heeded the government's call to come forward and get tested. Of the latter, 25 positive cases have been detected. 

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