Long queues & 2-hour wait for free Covid-19 swab tests at Big Box in Jurong

The swabbing exercise at Big Box is for staff and tenants of JEM and Westgate.

Ashley Tan | May 22, 2021, 06:12 PM

Several areas were recently designated as venues to conduct swab tests.

On May 18, the Ministry of Health strongly encouraged those who visited JEM or Westgate shopping malls between May 10 and 14 to take the free swab test.

This is to "pre-emptively mitigate any potential risk of wider, undetected community transmission", especially for those who were at the same venue as the confirmed Covid-19 cases during their infectious periods.

Long lines

Mothership reader surnamed Teo shared that in the meantime, it is mandatory for all staff

and tenants of JEM and Westgate to take the swab test as well.

Teo said he received an SMS informing him to head down for the swab test.

And as people turned up in droves, there was a long wait.

Photos and videos taken by several readers in the past few days showed long queues across the first level of Big Box.

Photo courtesy of Teo

Photo courtesy of Teo

The lines extended beyond the air-conditioned interior of the building and into the open-air area outside.

Video courtesy of Teo

Video courtesy of Teo

Allegedly not allowed to visit washroom

Another Mothership reader who works at JEM estimated that there were around 300 to 400 people in line, including the elderly who had to wait outside in the heat.

She said that the queue stretched to the pavement outside, where there is no shelter.

The reader added that priority should be given to the elderly, pregnant women and the disabled, as the waiting time was at least two hours.

She also suggested that at least, some seats could be provided for these people.

Additionally, she claimed that there are no washroom facilities provided, and apparently overheard a Safe Distancing Ambassador informing one person queueing that they are not allowed to visit the washroom.

Video courtesy of Mothership reader

Mothership has reached out to the Health Promotion Board for more information.

Two Covid-19 cases who visited Westgate recently were uncovered during the swabbing exercise.

Those who have been to JEM and Westgate between May 10 and 14 can book a swab test appointment at Fullerton Health Testing Centre, Raffles Hospital, Raffles Medical at Shaw Centre Orchard, Kingsway Medical Clinic, or a designated Regional Screening Centre.

One can also get their swab test done at “Swab and Send Home” Public Health Preparedness Clinics (SASH PHPCs) islandwide.

SASH PHPCs will only carry out free testing for individuals who have received an SMS from MOH.

Individuals who did not receive an SMS from MOH will have to show proof of being at JEM or Westgate between May 10 and 14, for example, through their SafeEntry record in the TraceTogether app.

More information can be found on MOH's website here.

Related story

Top photo courtesy of Teo