Singapore testing sewage to detect Covid-19, besides doing basic tests

Lawrence Wong says wastewater provides an additional indicator for detecting infection. (YouTube screengrab)

SINGAPORE: Singapore is deploying other means of detection that include extracting wastewater from manholes to test for Covid-19 viral fragments.

This was revealed by the republic’s Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong when delivering a national broadcast on ‘Living with Covid-19’ today.

“This provides an additional indicator to tell us if a specific group, such as those living in a dormitory, has infected people amongst them,” said Wong, who is also the co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on Covid-19.

As of June 8, Singapore identified 35,971 positive cases from foreign workers residing in dorms, or about 94% of yesterday’s total tally of 38,296.

It was reported that sewage surveillance was also taking place in the Netherlands and Australia.

As for the standard testing methods, Wong said that the republic is on track to reach 40,000 tests a day in the coming months.

“This expanded testing capacity is critical. It means that we can test higher-risk groups more extensively,” he said.

In early April, Wong said about 2,000 tests were done a day and now, “we are able to conduct about 13,000 tests a day.”

Singapore is currently in Phase One of reopening its economy after lifting most of its eight-week stricter circuit breaker measures from June 2.

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