Tele-supervised antigen rapid tests (tele-ARTs) are now widely available in Singapore, following a successful trial back in January.
These offer a convenient way of fulfilling the supervised ART requirement for arriving VTL travellers (which will switch to a self-administered ART from 15 March 2022), or preparing for an overseas trip.
In this post, we’ll look through the various tele-ART options in Singapore, and what you should know when using tele-ARTs for on-arrival or pre-departure testing.
Tele-ARTs in Singapore
Here’s a summary of the various tele-ART options available in Singapore.
|Provider||Operating Hours||🠕 Price*|
|Hidoc||8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m|
|Minmed||9 a.m to 9 p.m |
|Kingston Medical||24 hours||S$12|
(+S$13 from 6 p.m to 9 a.m)
|DoctorAnywhere||8 a.m to 10 p.m||S$12.84|
|Intemedical||8 a.m to 11 p.m||S$15|
|Swab Station||8 a.m to 5 p.m||S$25|
|BCH-ART||8 a.m to 9 p.m||S$25|
|Healthway Medical||9 a.m to 9 p.m|
(9 a.m to 5 p.m on weekend/ PH)
|Speedoc||8 a.m to 8 p.m||S$26.75|
|RMDY Clinic||9 a.m to 5.30 p.m||S$26.80|
|Unihealth||7.30 a.m to 12 a.m||S$29|
(+S$20-31 for after hours, weekend and PH)
|Swab N Go||10 a.m to 7 p.m||S$30|
|Raffles Connect||24 hours||S$30|
|Belief Family Clinic||24 hours||S$30|
(+S$10-30 for after hours, weekend and PH)
|*Must provide your own HSA-approved ART kit, which adds ~S$5 to the total price|
Tele-ARTs start from S$12 (plus the cost of your own ART kit; ~S$5 in Singapore), making them very competitively priced compared to visiting a clinic in person.
For perspective, the cheapest in-clinic ART costs S$21.40 at Northeast Medical- why incur the extra financial and travel expenses when you can get it done from home?
There are two scenarios where travellers will find tele-ARTs useful.
For on-arrival supervised testing in Singapore (ends 15 March)
VTL travellers to Singapore are currently required to take a supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival. They must self-isolate at home or in their hotel room (except for travelling to the test centre, via taxi/private car of course) until a negative result is received.
This will change from 15 March 2022, when arriving VTL travellers can simply do a self-administered ART instead. Until then, however, the supervised requirement remains.
If your flight lands in the evening, it can be very tricky to get swabbed until the following morning because most QTC/CTCs don’t operate 24/7 (and even if they do, appointment slots for VTL travellers aren’t available 24/7). No swab means no freedom, and for those living in Singapore, you’ll technically need to stay in a separate room from the rest of your non-traveling family in the interim.
Fortunately, tele-ARTs solve this problem, with Kingston Medical offering 24-hour supervised swabs at S$22.
Do note that if you book a tele-supervised ART via one of these providers, there is no need to use the booking link sent by ICA on arrival. I checked this with DA, who told me the following:
ICA will not be notified whether the test has been booked or not but they will only be tracking your IC/PSPT No. within that 24 hours whether a result has been submitted to Swab Registration System. Thereby the result for the testing that you do with us, we will do the necessary submission for you.
|⚠️ DA users: Note the time zones!|
|If you’re currently overseas and trying to arrange your on-arrival ART in Singapore, be advised that the DA app (rather stupidly, in my opinion) shows all times locally, based on the time zone of your phone.|
While quoted turnaround times for receiving the softcopy results slip can be up to four hours, I’ve been reliably informed that once your supervised swab result is negative, you can exit isolation immediately.
For pre-departure testing
The following VTL countries currently accept ART results for pre-departure testing:
- Malaysia (VTL-Land only)
- United States
I recently took a DA tele-ART for my trip to the USA, which saved me the hassle (and possible infection) of visiting a physical clinic. Here’s a quick summary of the experience:
tl;dr: everything went like clockwork. The certificate showed up in my email with the hour, and interestingly enough, it doesn’t say anything about it being tele-supervised. For all intents and purposes, this is the same certificate that someone who had physically visited a clinic would have received.
It’s for that reason I see no issues using this service for pre-departure testing to any country that accepts ART results.
|😷 Review: Kingston Medical|
Matthew did his on-arrival supervised ART with Kingston Medical, and provides the following report:
I booked my appointment the night before for a 9.30am timeslot and payment is taken at the time of booking via Stripe. I used my Amaze paired with the DBS WWMC to pay and it shows up as Health on the Instarem app.
Around 1 hour prior to your scheduled timeslot, you will receive an email with a Zoom link for the tele-ART appointment.
I logged on promptly at 9.30 am and had to wait for around 15 minutes before being let into the zoom call. After being admitted, there was a person speaking in Chinese, and only in Chinese, asking us to fill in a Google Form with our particulars for them to process the results.
In the form you’d have to indicate your:
1. Full Name
After which, you’d have to type in the comments that you’re done and you’re sent to a breakout room with a supervisor. Unlike DA, this call has multiple people in it which made it pretty chaotic.
Your camera position initially has to show your face and your unopened ART kit. After which, you’ll then be told to open the test kits and proceed with the test procedures.
After dropping the fluid onto the test kit, you can then reposition your camera to focus solely on the test kit, making sure it’s visible at all times.
Once 15 minutes has lapsed (depending on the test kit used), the swab supervisor will call out your name to present the test kit to him/her clearly and you are told you can log off the call.
We were also told that results will be sent to us within 4 hours but this was not the case for me.
I completed my test at around 10pm and by 2pm there was still nothing logged in HealthHub nor in the TraceTogether app. I gave them a call and they told me that they were having high volume today and as such many people have not received their results.
This is not an acceptable excuse especially when it is promised that results will be issued within 4 hours. Moreover, 4 hours is a heck of a long time and this delay does have potential ramifications on travelers who are both departing and arriving in Singapore, especially those who are doing their pre-departure test on the day of departure with the hopes that they will get their results back in 4 hours.
Even as an arrival passenger, let’s say for some reason you leave your test until the very last minute and only buffer an hour before your 24h is up. The delay in posting of your results to MOH’s system is simply unacceptable as you might miss your 24h window to take the test and might be wrongfully charged for a border offence.
What about pre-departure testing when coming to Singapore?
Tele-ARTs can be used for pre-departure testing when returning to Singapore, for Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and work pass holders. Short-term visitors may not use these at the moment.
Tele-ARTs are now available in Singapore round the clock, which is great news for those arriving at odd hours (at least until the supervised swab requirement ends on 15 March) or taking last-minute overseas trips where there’s no time to visit a clinic.
As countries learn to live with COVID, the number of destinations accepting ARTs as pre-departure tests will only grow (or better yet, pre-departure testing will be scrapped altogether for vaccinated travellers), which means tele-ARTs will be useful for some time to come.