Work-from-home to be default mode from May 16, rapid testing for those with respiratory symptoms

No intermingling or cross-deployment of employees across worksites.

Guan Zhen Tan | May 14, 2021, 01:05 PM

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Work-from-home will be the default mode for workers with effect from May 16, to June 13, as part of a range of heightened measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced this in a press conference held today (May 14), in response to the growing number of community cases in recent days.

As of May 13, the Changi Airport cluster has grown to 46 cases, while the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster has grown to 44 cases.

No cross-deployment to multiple worksites, no social gatherings

According to the Ministry of Health's press release (MOH), employers must ensure that employees who are able to work from home can do so.

There should continue to be no cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites.

Employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace and implement flexible working hours.

Social gatherings at the workplace will also not be allowed.

While employees may have meal breaks at the workplace, employees are to refrain from intermingling with their colleagues when their masks are taken off.

Singapore to begin expand Antigen Rapid Testing

To speed up the detection of Covid-19 cases, Singapore will begin using antigen rapid test for all of those who present themselves with symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) at the various Swab and Send Home (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), Polyclinics, Emergency Departments and Regional Swab Centres (RSCs).

The ART will be used in addition to the Polymerase Chain Rreaction (PCR) tests that are already being done.

The ART, as the name suggests, will typically give a test result within 30 minutes, compared 48 hours for PCR tests.

This would allow public health actions to be taken more quickly for anyone who tests positive by ART.

However, given that the ART is less accurate than the PCR test, MOH said that there will be more false positives and false negatives.

This enhanced testing regime will be rolled out progressively, starting with around 200 SASH PHPCs that are already licensed as ART providers from May 15.

This will be expanded to include all SASH PHPCs through May alongside Polyclinics, Emergency Departments, and RSCs.

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