In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s address to the nation last Monday, he mentioned that antigen rapid tests (ARTs) can be bought at pharmacies soon, so that the public can test themselves for Covid-19 regularly, giving them peace of mind (DIY Covid-19 test kits available at S’pore pharmacies soon, June 1).
However, I identified two weak links that may deter people from procuring these tests: First, the tests are not free. It has been reported that the cost of an ART can be around $10. If I test myself every day, I would be spending $70 a week just for the test kits.
Second, to procure these tests, one needs to go to a pharmacy. The Government has encouraged us to stay at home.
If we have to go out to the pharmacies to get one of these rapid tests, isn’t that going against official advice to stay home as much as possible?
Britain’s mass testing strategy is a good model for us to follow.
To get the test kits, the public can either use an online service to order a pack of seven at a time for home delivery, or go to a pharmacy to collect up to two packs of seven at a time.
Alternatively, people can go to a testing site to get tested. Students and school staff can get these tests in school.
No matter what method one chooses to get the tests, they are free.
Dylan Low, 11