With the XBB Omicron Covid-19 subvariant making waves in some places, including in Singapore, some companies have taken the initiative to re-implement the antigen rapid test (ART) for employees.
Shin Min Daily News reported that within a day, some companies have detected as many as 10 per cent of their employees to be Covid-19 positive and asymptomatic.
Companies to ramp up testing
It was reported that one company began re-implementing mandatory ART testing for their employees since mid-October.
The company has around 200 to 300 full-time employees.
On one particular day, more than 20 employees tested positive for Covid-19.
Majority of the employees who tested positive were either asymptomatic or have caught Covid-19 at least once.
However, mandatory testing appears to be taking a backseat for now.
Covid-19 experts interviewed said that past experience has shown that the effectiveness of regular testing in getting Covid-19 under control is limited.
This is why some companies are adopting a wait-and-see approach.
Shen Shiyun, one of the founders of Cloversoft, a company that produces eco-friendly hygiene products, said she is closely monitoring the current endemic situation, and does not rule out requiring employees performing mandatory ART testing before reporting to work.
The company currently does not require its employees to be tested.
However, Shen told Shin Min that with a new wave of infections, compounded by an increase in travelling amongst employees, testing might be re-implemented to ensure the safety of all employees.
In the food and beverage sector, all food handlers are still required to wear masks or spit guards, according to the Singapore Food Agency's (SFA) regulations.
Highly transmissible variant
The recent rise in Covid-19 cases can be largely attributed to the highly transmissible subvariant XBB making the rounds in Singapore.
According to the Ministry of Health in a press release on Oct. 15, XBB is now the predominant subvariant circulating in the community, accounting for 54 per cent of local cases during the week of Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, from 22 per cent the previous week.
It is also noted that XBB may have symptoms less severe than other subvariants.
Top Photo via Ruth Chai