Sample collection guideline for COVID-19 test

Sample collection steps

Deep throat saliva (DTS)Combined nasal and throat swab (CNTS)Nasopharyngeal swab (NPS)

Deep throat saliva (DTS) collection

Points to note for specimen collection


Specimen collection steps

  1. Check the correctness of personal details on the bottle and laboratory form.
  2. Open the specimen bottle.
  3. Make the noise of “Kruuua” in the throat to clear saliva from the deep throat. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times to get enough deep-throat saliva.
  4. Spit saliva into the bottle. Repeat the steps until the sample volume reaches the scale on the specimen bottle.
  5. Close the lid of the specimen bottle tightly to ensure no leakage of saliva. Clean the surface of the specimen bottle with tissue paper.
  6. Put the specimen bottle into the smaller bag, then seal the bag carefully. Ensure the bottle is upright and without leakage.
  7. Put the small specimen bag with the specimen bottle into the larger specimen carrier bag and seal up carefully. Keep the bottle upright as far as possible.
  8. Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.

Specimen storage

Combined nasal and throat swab (CNTS)

Points to note for specimen collection


Specimen collection steps

Collect nasal swab samples:
  1. Take the nasal swab from the sterile packet. Do not touch the swab tip.
  2. Tilt the head back slightly to straighten the nasal passage.
  3. Gently insert the swab 1 to 2 cm inside the nostril parallel with the nose bridge, or until resistance is felt. Gently rotate the swab and leaving in place for 10 to 15 seconds. Slowly rotate as the swab is withdrawn.
  4. Repeat collect the sample from the other nostril with the same swab.
  5. Break the swab stalk at the indentation mark and put the swab tip into the bottle with prefilled transport medium.
Collect throat swab samples:
  1. Take the throat wrap from the sterile packet. Do not touch the swab tip.
  2. Tilt the head back slightly, open the mouth and insert the swab into the posterior pharynx and tonsillar areas.
  3. Say “Ah”, then rub the swab over both tonsillar pillars and posterior oropharynx for few times. Avoid touching the tongue, teeth, and gums.
  4. Break the swab stalk at the indentation mark and put the swab tip into the bottle with prefilled transport medium.
  5. Close the lid of the specimen bottle tightly to ensure no leakage of saliva. Check the correctness of personal details on the bottle and laboratory form.
  6. Put the specimen bottle into the smaller bag, then seal the bag carefully. Put the small specimen bag with the specimen bottle into the larger specimen carrier bag and seal up carefully.

Specimen storage

Nasopharyngeal swab (NPS)

Points to note for specimen collection


Specimen collection steps

  1. Use a mini-tip swap with a flexible shaft.
  2. Insert the swab through the nostril parallel to the palate (not upwards) until resistance is encountered or the distance is equivalent to that from the ear to the nostril of the patient, including contact with the nasopharynx.
  3. The swab should reach a depth equal to the distance from the nostrils to the outer opening of the ear. Gently rub and roll the swab.
  4. Leave the swab in place for several seconds to absorb secretions.
  5. Slowly remove the swab while rotating it.
  6. Specimens can be collected from both sides using the same swab, but it is not necessary to collect specimens from both sides if the mini-tip is saturated with fluid from the first collection.
  7. If a deviated septum or blockage creates difficulty in obtaining the specimen from one nostril, use the same swab to obtain the specimen from another nostril.