As many other countries grapple with COVID-19, Singapore has further intensified its testing capability within its own borders over the past two weeks. The Singaporean government has said that it is now capable of doing 2,800 to 2,900 tests per day. This brings the number of tests per million people in the island nation to more than 7,000 – a notable increase from 6,800 on 25 March.
At a press conference, Health Ministry director of medical services Kenneth Mak said that Singapore’s testing efforts are very targeted. “We don’t waste the tests that we do,” he said.
“At this point in time, our practice is to maximise diagnostic yield we have coming out from the tests in terms of the number of positive tests we have for the number of tests we perform,” he added.
Singapore has had a low number of cases and an even lower number of deaths relative to its regional peers, even though it recorded its first infection earlier than most Southeast Asian nations. Experts attribute the low number of infections and fatalities with the country’s intensive testing and contract tracing efforts that has, so far, flattened the curve.
For now, Singapore focuses its testing efforts on people who show symptoms. The country has yet to conduct any community-based testing – a practice many countries have adopted – as Singapore sees no need for it just yet. Mak assured, however, that this is something the island nation will look into and review if and when the need arises.
As of 6 April, Johns Hopkins University counts 1,309 total cases, with only 6 deaths and 320 recoveries. A sizeable portion of recent cases in the country are also considered imported.