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COVID-19 Swab Test: Where To Find the Cheapest Test in Singapore and Which Test To Get

profileXue Miao

Since 1 Dec 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that individuals who are interested in taking a COVID-19 test can do so without prior approval from MOH.

This move is to make COVID-19 testing more accessible as the country moves towards the gradual opening of activities.

In fact, they are getting so common that even robots are being built for it.

Source: The Straits Times

Say hi to Swabbot.

So when do you need to take a COVID-19 test?

Or which type of COVID-19 test should you take?

TL;DR: Types of COVID-19 Tests Available and Test Prices

COVID-19 Testing 
Types of Tests AvailableCOVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test

COVID-19 Serology Test

COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART)
When Do I Have To Do a COVID-19 Test?Travellers Going Out of Singapore

Travellers Going on a Cruise

Attendees of selected large-scale events

Individuals interested in getting themselves checked
Cost of a COVID-19 TestCheapest PCR Test:
$154 (Heartland Health)

Cheapest Serology Test:
$37.55 (Raffles Medical Group)

Cheapest Antigen Rapid Test (ART): $19.26 (SATA CommHealth)
COVID-19 Tests SubsidiesNot subsidised unless assessed by doctor (while being sick) and meeting the swabbing criteria

Types of COVID-19 Tests Available

There are a number of COVID-19 tests that are available at the clinics in Singapore.

COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test

The COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is regarded as the most accurate and reliable test to detect active COVID-19 infections, and is also the most common test that we see today.

A swab sample will be taken from the nose and/or throat, and this test directly detects the presence of the COVID-19 antigen in an individual.

The test results will usually be available within 24 to 36 hours of the administration of the test.

COVID-19 Serology Test

Serology tests are used for individuals with a history of COVID-19 infection.

The test detects antibodies produced by the body from a past COVID-19 infection and is done by taking a blood sample from the individual.

In general, individuals are likely to test positive for their serological test if they had contracted COVID-19 more than 10 to 14 days before the test.

The test results will also usually be available within 24 to 36 hours of the administration of the test.

COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART)

The COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) complements the PCR test, and while it is not as sensitive, the test results are usually available a lot quicker (within half an hour).

As such, it is usually used as a pre-event safety measure for larger-scale events in Singapore.

Individuals will only be granted entry to these events when the results are negative.

When Do I Have To Do a COVID-19 Test?

Travellers Going Out of Singapore

Travellers must complete the pre-requisite COVID-19 tests within a specific testing window before the departure flight.

For the time being, air travel is still strictly for essential business or official travel.

Here are the destinations that are currently open to Singapore Residents, information accurate as of the time of writing.:

Countries 
BruneiReciprocal Green Lane arrangement
China (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) Reciprocal Green Lane arrangement
Germany Reciprocal Green Lane arrangement
MalaysiaReciprocal Green Lane arrangement
South Korea (via Seoul)Fast Lane arrangement
South AfricaSouth Africa has classified Singapore as a Medium Risk Country.

Travellers arriving from Singapore are allowed, but extra screening measures will be imposed.
The NetherlandsEntry restrictions lifted for Singapore Residents
TurkeyRestriction lifted on international travel
United StatesNo restrictions

Travellers Going on a Cruise

A PCR test is also required for individuals who are embarking on a cruise during this period of time, where guests of all ages must undergo this test within 48 to 72 hours prior to boarding and obtain a negative result.

The cost will be included in the cruise fare.

Participants of Large-Scale Events

Participants of selected large-scale events will have to go through the ART and obtain a negative test result before being granted admission.

For tests done off-site, participants have to produce a certificate showing a negative test result, which is valid for a 24-hour timeframe that includes the duration of the event.

Cost of a COVID-19 Test

The Ministry of Health has provided a list of approved COVID test providers.

Here are some of the costs of the different COVID-19 tests.

Medical Service ProviderFor General Well-BeingFor Traveling Out of Singapore
COVID-19 PCR Swab Test Price (SGD)COVID-19 Serology Test Price (SGD)COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) (SGD)COVID-19 PCR Swab Test (SGD)COVID-19 PCR Swab Test & Serology Test (SGD)
AcuMed Medical Group$189$58$49$189

$$206.98 (PCR Swab Test & Fit-to-Travel Memo)
$237

Central 24-Hour Clinic Group---$200

$26.75 for fit-to-travel memo
$258.85
DoctorAnywhere (DA) Clinic$160 $200 (with PCR test)
-$160 ($155 for DBS Cardholders)$200
($189 for DBS Cardholders)
Farrer Park Hospital$200$238 (with PCR test)-$200$238
Fullerton Health$199.02$53.50-$199.02$252.52
Healthway Medical (For OCBC)---$150$190
HeartlandHealth$154$189 (with PCR test)$42.80$154$189
Minmed$185.10$53.50$50Flights to China: $238.60

Flights to other destinations: $185.10
-
My Family Clinic---$158$198
Northeast Medical Group$180$91-$180$271
OneCare Medical$160$50-$160$210
Parkway Shenton---$170-
Pinnacle Family Clinic$185$85.60$48.15$185$270.60
Raffles Medical Group$168$37.55
SATA CommHealth--$19.26$180$230
Q&M Medical Group$200$60-$200$260

Some clinics have listed prices specifically for pre-departure testing, so we encourage checking with the clinics beforehand if you’re interested to get a test for your general well-being to see whether it’s available.

Are COVID-19 Tests Subsidised?

Any cost incurred for travel-related tests will be borne by the traveller, and government subsidies will not be given for these tests.

The same goes for voluntary COVID-19 PCR swab tests, where there are no government subsidies available.

However, if you are unwell and are assessed by the doctor to meet the swabbing criteria, the cost of the COVID-19 test will be fully covered by the government.

In such cases, the test will be done onsite if the clinic is a Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) which offers the Swab and Send Home (SASH) service.

If the clinic does not offer SASH, patients will be referred to the nearest operating facility.

COVID-19 Swab Tests, Vaccinations and the New Normal

COVID-19’s here to stay.

Like it or not, we have to adapt to this new normal for the time being.

Looking forward to the day where we can travel overseas without poking our noses beforehand, and scurrying to find the best travel insurance again.

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About Xue Miao
A millennial who is learning to adult. She doesn't believe in the rat race and hopes to live on a farm someday.
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