All you need to know about the Covid-19 swab test and what to expect.

Covid-19 Swab Test: All You Need to Know

All you need to know about the Covid-19 swab test and what to expect.

From 1 December, anyone who requires a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be able to get one at approved providers, including at DA Clinics. Let’s find out more about what to expect from the swab test.


How is the nasal swab test done?

A nasal swab test will require you to tilt your head back, while a cotton swab will be twirled at the back of the nose through the nostril. This is required to collect a sample of the secretions for analysis. The doctor will insert the swab into both nostrils, to ensure that enough samples are collected for testing.

What does it feel like?

There is generally no pain, but it is common to experience discomfort during and after the test. The experience may feel like water going up your nose, and you may feel the need to sneeze or cough. Our suggestion is to breathe through your mouth as the swab is being carried out, to minimise the discomfort.

Why can’t I just breathe onto the swab?

Taking a swab from the inside of your nose will provide more accurate test results. Just breathing onto the swab may not capture the viral particles.

What do I have to bring for a swab test?
  1. NRIC
  2. Passport
  3. Details of your flight booking (in hard or soft copy)
  4. Either approval letter by Singapore government agency or reciprocal green lane approval letter. From 1 Dec 2020 onwards, this will no longer be required.
What is an approval letter and how do I apply for it?

Before 1 Dec 2020, to have your swab test done, you will need an approval letter from any Singapore government agency or reciprocal green lane approval letter. Approval letters from embassies are not accepted. You may apply for the approval letter here.

If I am traveling, when should I do my swab tests?

You should schedule your appointment for the swab test 48-72 hours before your flight depending on the requirements set by the country of destination.

When will my results be out?

Results will be available to you between 24 to 30 hours after the test. If you are doing your test with a DA Clinic outlet, the results memo will be emailed to you.

Where can I do a swab test?

Your swab test can be done at any DA Clinics around Singapore.  It is recommended that you make an appointment with Doctor Anywhere here beforehand.

I have more questions, what else can I do?
You may view the FAQs here or you can call Doctor Anywhere at +65 3158 1836 or email us at
On top of testing, vaccinations are also a key strategy against COVID-19. As vaccination coverage increases across the island, we may be able to look forward to looser restrictions and new initiatives for life in the new normal.