Health

Singapore controls Covid-19 by tracing and testing


SingaporeIn parallel with efforts to create community immunity, Singapore continues to tighten tracing and testing by applying high technology, speeding up progress.

According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, as of August 16, 76% of the population has completed two doses of vaccination and 82% of people have received at least one dose of vaccine. At this rate, Singapore is expected to be able to achieve herd immunity in September 2021. This positive anti-epidemic result not only comes from the implementation of an effective vaccination program, but also thanks to the application of high technology, shortening the time in tracing and rapid testing.

Speed ​​up rapid testing

Currently, the standard PCR test is considered the most accurate method for Covid-19 in 1-2 days. In order to quickly detect and isolate infections, Singapore has applied additional ART antigen rapid test technology with results within 30 minutes. This method is one of the effective measures to control the spread, allowing Singapore to soon re-organize large conferences and events instead of restricting all activities as before.

In addition, the breath test technology that gives results in 60 seconds, developed by Breathonix company of the National University of Singapore, has been put into use since the end of May 2021. This method was initially deployed at Causeway and Changi Airport, two of the important gateways of Lion Island.

Rapid test kits will also be available at most pharmacies from June and supermarkets and convenience stores from July in Singapore. This allows frontline health workers and people to both self-test at home, thereby proactively detecting Covid-19 cases in the community early. In addition, Singapore is also continuing to apply serological testing methods and viral genome analysis, which can assist scientists in determining the F0 of an epidemic cluster.

The Covid-19 rapid test kit is widely licensed and sold in most pharmacies in Singapore. Photo: Straits Times

Efficient tracing thanks to the synchronous combination of two technologies

Another factor contributing to the success of Singapore’s epidemic response efforts over the past time is the combination of a close contact tracing system via the TraceTogether application and SafeEntry technology to mark the presence of people in each location. point. Accordingly, when a case of infection occurs in the community, the government can track it faster, and Singaporeans can actively monitor their own risk of infection.

The TraceTogether application uses bluetooth technology to record close contacts between people, so that F1 can be traced quickly when a Covid-19 infection appears. TraceTogether is also not limited to features in the form of a phone application that can be used on hardware that is a token device that is distributed free of charge to people.

Two Singaporeans are scanning a QR code declared via the TraceTogether application at a shopping mall.  Photo: Strait Times

Two Singaporeans are scanning a QR code declared via the TraceTogether application at a shopping mall. Photo: Strait Times

SafeEntry helps to track the travel schedule of users by recording the identification number and mobile phone number of individuals when they arrive at a certain location. As soon as any infection is detected, people will immediately receive a notification and can compare their travel schedule with the case of infection, monitor or conduct testing as recommended by the Government. As of the beginning of June, over 90% of Singapore’s population had installed the TraceTogether app and used it daily as part of the new normal.

In addition, Singapore also uses technology to detect Covid-19 through wastewater in apartments and buildings by checking for differences in the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and then identifying the Covid variant. -19. Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) is currently monitoring wastewater from more than 200 locations including nursing homes, living quarters, worker dormitories, etc. to monitor and detect Covid-19 early. 19.

WHAT LEARNED FROM SINGAPORE'S COVID-19 TESTING AND TESTING EXPERIENCE?  - 2

Two employees conduct a test sample at a sewage manhole in Singapore. Photo: Strait Times

To control the Covid-19 epidemic, Singapore has applied a strategy of skillfully combining many different measures, from synchronous tracing technology to the application of many Covid-19 testing methods. As a result, the lion island nation has initially opened its economy in “4 stages”.

Singapore began easing some control measures from August 10, allowing eateries, restaurants and some community activities to reopen, especially since this country is not required to measure temperature at all. public. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, although the number of infections is still high, the increase in rapid testing and periodic testing helps detect infections faster.

Earlier, during the seminar on June 21, Ms. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, affirmed that Singapore is ready to cooperate with Vietnam in accessing vaccine sources as well as applying high technology in tracing. , the rapid test that this country is applying. These are considered practical experiences that Vietnam can learn and apply in order to control the epidemic, and soon bring people’s life to a state of “new normal”.

Thy An

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