COVID-19 testing available to public at approved private clinics from 1 Dec – but netizens lament the cost of PCR test is “too expensive”

According to The Straits Times, doctors from private clinics have noted that the rates for the COVID-19 test will be around S$200 including GST

As of Tuesday (1 Dec), any individual who requires a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be able to acquire one from approved private clinics.

This includes companies and people in need of pre-departure testing prior to travelling.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) had earlier (10 Nov) announced that the expanded COVID-19 testing availability aims to support a larger range of needs as Singapore resumes more economic and community activities during the phase three of country’s reopening.

MOH also stated that individuals requiring pre-departure testing will no longer be required to seek approval from the Ministry.

For those who will be taking the COVID-19 test at the approved private clinics, they will have to call the clinic to make an appointment prior to their test, as reported by The Straits Times (ST).

They will also need to pay for the tests, which will not be subsidised.

“We hope that through making available testing capacity from the private sector, there will be competition and there’ll be more supplies available. And by doing so, we will ensure that the price they offer will be competitive, and that (it) will reflect the true cost of the test,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong as cited by ST.

Currently, there are around 600 clinics and providers that can provide PCR testing. The full list can be found here.

According to ST, doctors from private clinics have noted that the rates for the COVID-19 test will be around S$200 including GST.

Meanwhile, Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders returning from Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand, and Vietnam are required to undergo a COVID-19 test which costs S$196 including GST upon arrival at Changi airport.

Prior to this, they had to fork out S$300 for a COVID-19 PCR test.

As for other incoming travellers, they will also be tested for COVID-19 before the end of their Stay-Home-Notice (SHN), where the cost of the test goes up to S$200 including GST, according to Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Netizens’ reaction

Penning their thoughts in the comments section of ST’s Facebook page on this latest announcement, many netizens lamented that the charging rates for a COVID-19 test is far too expensive.

Some of them suggested that the Government should absorb the cost if it really wants to encourage citizens to take the test.

A handful of netizens questioned why Singaporeans need to pay for the test while foreign workers are able to be tested for free.

Several others complained about the cost of testing as they figure how best cover the sum. A few netizens suggested using MediSave to offset the cost, while a couple of them jokingly proposed using the S$100 SingaporeRediscovers Vouchers to cover for the cost.

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