While testing is an acceptable inconvenience for quarantine-free travel, it’s an inconvenience nonetheless. Attending pre-departure and post-arrival swabs takes time out of your schedule, and goodness knows there’s enough to do already.
But what if all your testing could be done from the comfort of your home? That’s what Doctor Anywhere (DA) is offering with their new Tele-ART service, a godsend for VTL travellers.
DA Tele-ART service
DA Tele-ART is a pilot programme run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health that allows supervised ARTs to be done at home, over a video call.
Skip the need to visit a Quick Test Centre or the long trip to a clinic. Complete your supervised self-swab Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) over video consultation with Doctor Anywhere.
Results are valid for pre-event and pre-departure tests (if it fulfills on requirements of your destination country) and for individuals returning on VTL flights (for D3/D7 supervised self-swab ART).
The Tele-ART service is available daily from 9 a.m to 6 p.m and costs S$12.84 nett, plus the cost of your own HSA-approved ART kit.
Notarised results will be sent within four hours of consultation, via SMS and email. They will also be updated in your TraceTogether app.
Tele-ART results are acceptable for pre-departure testing (at least for travel out of Singapore; it’s less clear if it’s acceptable for travel to Singapore), as well as post-arrival Day 3 and Day 7 testing for VTL travellers.
Pre-departure testing for outbound travel from Singapore
If you’re heading overseas, remember that certain VTL countries require Singapore residents to present negative pre-departure tests before boarding their flight. Here’s a summary of the current requirements:
|⚕️ PDT for Singapore Residents|
|Vax.||Unvax. Child Under 12^|
(under 5 exempt)
(under 5 exempt)
(under 16 exempt)
(under 5 exempt)
(under 6 exempt)
(under 2 exempt)
(under 1 exempt)
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||PCR12||PCR12|
(under 9 exempt)
|🇰🇷 South Korea||PCR13||N/A|
(Only children aged 5 and below allowed entry)
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||PCR14||PCR14|
(under 2 exempt)
(under 6 exempt)
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||N/A||N/A|
|🇺🇸 United States||ART/PCR18||ART/PCR18|
(under 2 exempt)
|^Accompanied by vaccinated parents|
1. Within 72h of departure to Australia
2. Within 72h of entry into Cambodia
3. Within 72h of departure of last direct flight to Canada
4. Within 3 days of departure to Fiji
4a. Within 48h of entry into Finland
5. Within 48h of departure to France
6. Within 72h of departure to India
7. Within 72h of departure to Indonesia
8. Within 24h/72h (ART/PCR) of entry into Italy
9. Within 2 days of departure to Malaysia. ART for VTL land only
10. Within 96h of departure to Maldives
10a. Within 24h/48h (ART/PCR) of departure to Netherlands
11. Within 72h of entry into Qatar
12. Within 72h of departure to Saudi Arabia
13. Within 48h of departure to South Korea
14. Within 72h of departure to Sri Lanka
15. Within 24h/72h (ART/PCR) of departure to Switzerland
16. Within 72h of departure to Thailand
17. Within 72h of departure to UAE
18. Within 1 day of departure date to USA
Tele-ART allows you to get your results certificate without leaving home, freeing up time for other pre-departure tasks. Your results will also be notarised, which allows land VTL travellers to upload them easily to the MySafeTravel portal for travel to Malaysia.
The cheapest pre-departure ART I’m aware of is at Northeast Medical, which costs S$21.40. DA Tele-ART beats that at S$17.84 (DA’s fee of S$12.84 plus the ~S$5 cost of an ART kit).
Post-arrival Day 3 and 7 testing
Singapore recently extended its daily post-arrival COVID-19 testing regime for VTL travellers to 30 January 2022.
In addition to the pre-departure and on-arrival tests, all VTL travellers aged two and above must do daily ARTs from Day 2 to Day 7.
|🇸🇬 Testing Regime for VTL Travel to Singapore|
|Within 2 days before departure to Singapore||Professional ART/PCR||Varies|
|Day 1 (arrival in Singapore)||Air VTL: PCR|
Land VTL: ART
|Day 2||Self-administered ART||~S$5|
|Day 3||Supervised ART||S$15|
|Day 4||Self-administered ART||~S$5|
|Day 5||Self-administered ART||~S$5|
|Day 6||Self-administered ART||~S$5|
|Day 7||Supervised ART||S$15|
|Professional ART= Someone swabs you|
Self-administered ART= You swab yourself, unsupervised
Supervised ART= You swab yourself, supervised
While Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 ARTs are self-administered at home with an approved self-test kit, Days 3 and 7 ARTs must be supervised.
How it normally works is that you book an appointment at a designated Combined Test Centre (CTC) or Quick Test Centre (QTC)and head down to do your swab. The swab itself only takes a couple of minutes, but there’s travel time involved, and you might be unlucky and show up when there’s a long queue.
|Children aged 3 to 12 must be accompanied by a caregiver aged 21 years old and above for supervised ART swabbing. The caregiver may be required to help administer the test if the child is unable to do so.|
Life would be so much easier if you could just do the Day 3 and 7 tests at home, and that’s where Tele-ARTs come in.
The total cost of a DA Tele-ART (S$17.84) is only marginally more expensive than the S$15 CTC/QTC fee, and you’ll certainly come out on top in terms of time saved.
What’s the Tele-ART process like?
If you’re curious as to how the Tele-ART works, you can refer to the step by step guide here.
Basically, you’ll need to make an appointment on the DA app, during which you’ll register your own HSA-approved ART kit and provide your personal details. During the appointment, you’ll do the following:
After the appointment, your validated results will be received within four hours.
If your result is positive, follow the steps below:
Can this be used for pre-departure testing for travel to Singapore?
|⚠️ Update: DA has informed me that their Tele-ARTs cannot be used for pre-departure testing for travel into Singapore.|
Singapore currently requires all VTL travellers to take a COVID-19 ART or PCR test within 2 days of departure for Singapore.
It would be fantastic if Tele-ARTs could be used for VTL travellers returning to Singapore. Imagine not having to make a detour to a testing centre downtown, or stand in line at the airport. However, I’d be a bit hesitant about using this, at least until we get further confirmation.
I’m in two minds here. On the one hand, VTL travellers from Malaysia to Singapore are allowed to use tests from CLEA for pre-departure certification (you can read about successful data points in this Telegram group). CLEA is more or less the same as DA Tele-ART; in fact, you could argue their process is slightly less robust as it’s not done live- you record yourself doing the swab and submit it for subsequent verification. But if these are acceptable anyway, why not Tele-ART?
On the other it could be that CLEA is acceptable because the results certificate is issued by a Malaysia clinic, the country where travellers are departing from. On the other hand, DA Tele-ART results will be issued by a Singapore clinic.
But on yet another hand (yes, I have three hands), I’m not aware of any requirement that your pre-departure test certificate must come from the country you’re flying out of. For example, I know of people who did travelled around Europe and flew home with a test result issued from a different country (e.g. they did their test in France and flew out of Germany).
To further the ambiguity, the MOH’s website says “we do not accept self-administered PCR tests as pre-departure testing options for entry into Singapore”. You’d think that would also apply to ARTs, but it’s not stated explicitly.
I’ve contacted DA for clarification, but I suspect I’m going to be bounced to ICA who will give me one of their lovely template replies.
While it’s unclear whether DA Tele-ARTs can be used for travel to Singapore, what’s clear is that it can provide great convenience for your outbound travel, as well as your post-arrival testing on return to Singapore.
This should really have been introduced ages ago, but better late than never.
Share your experiences with Tele-ART below!