Free Covid-19 testing for TTSH patients & visitors, long queues lasting 2-5 hours form

The free swab tests are offered from May 3 to May 16.

Lean Jinghui | May 03, 2021, 06:40 PM

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Long queues were seen outside some Regional Screening Centres (RSCs) on May 3, 2021 as people queued for free Covid-19 tests.

Free Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Covid-19 testing for all patients and visitors who were at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) since Apr. 18 was announced on April 30, to pre-emptively mitigate potential risks of community transmission.

These individuals can choose to walk in to any of four selected RSCs, or book an appointment at one of the "Swab and Send Home" (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPCs) islandwide from May 3 to 16.

According to 8world, snaking queues of 80 to 100 people were seen on opening day outside one RSC, even before official operations began at 9am.

Growing crowds

At former Da Qiao Primary School, 8world reported that the crowd seemed to only grow with time.

After about an hour, the queue had stretched to more than 200 people, and went around the block.

Senior citizens, individuals who had booked an appointment, and those required to undergo Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) were allowed to enter the RSC for swab testing first.

One person in the queue, Wang, told 8world that she had been shocked by the queues after arriving at 8:20am.

She had decided to come down for testing, as she had been to the same location as a confirmed Covid-19 case from TTSH.

Another woman, Fu, 70, added that staff on site had informed her to look for the nearest PHPC to carry out her test.

However, she claimed that several PHPCs she had contacted had subsequently advised her to head down to an RSC instead, as she appeared asymptomatic.

Shin Min Daily News reported that some individuals had waited for four hours, and still had not undergone testing.

One person in the queue told Shin Min reporters that while he had eventually obtained a queue number, he was afraid that people would think he was "cutting queue" if he left and came back, which is why he had decided to wait it out.

He had received a text message informing him of the free swab test the day before, and decided to go down as he had visited a patient at TTSH.

Lianhe Wanbao later reported that all four RSCs were experiencing huge crowds, with average waiting time of more than two hours per site.

Today reported that queues at former Da Qiao Primary School at Ang Mo Kio appeared especially dire, with some members of the public reporting waits of up to five hours.

The wait time had only become better in the afternoon as staff turned newcomers away, and reminded the public that there were more days available for testing.

Top image via Shin Min Daily News Facebook