Singapore is a unique country compared to the world. While the world is still figuring how to do contact tracing, Singapore has managed to come up with various solution to do contact tracing on a national level.
There are generally 2 ways Singapore has done contact tracing. The first method is the use of “Safe Entry” QR code to allow people to “Check-in” into places and the use of tracetogether for contact tracing. This sort of allow authorities to be able to still track Singaporeans in different places.
Safe entry is a QR Code that links the browser to a website with a particular location. Singaporean can check in with their particulars. This works by scanning a QR code using a QR code scanner or Singpass app. The whole process takes less than 10 seconds to complete.
Alternatively, for the less savvy Singaporean, they can also check in by using their identity card (NRIC). Business can simply download the Safe Entry app and scan for people.
This has been mandated by the Singapore Government as everywhere has adopted it. Furthermore, most places also check your temperature and verify that you have checked in before you can enter the particular place. This has seen great success in Singapore as it looked less invasive.
Another way of implementing traceTogether is to leverage on mobile phones. Apple and Google have both provided API for contact tracing but it seemed to have limited uses for Apple devices as the app doesn’t run in background. As a result, most countries dare not mandate the use of such mobile apps including Singapore.
The app has been made available to the public for a long time but many people do not want to use. Not only does it drains the battery from the use of bluetooth, there is also a fear of Government tracking our movement.
The Singapore Government manage to overcome this limitation by developing a separate bluetooth dongle that can replicate the function of the traceTogether app. This is a low-cost dongle that was mass-produced and will be distributed to all Singaporean.
At the start, it was stated that this would not be a compulsory item for Singapore but subsequently, the Government has announced that the use of traceTogether token will be compulsory for a certain location.
It does make sense for this to be implemented in a certain location with a large group of people especially when certain activities up to 100 people are allowed. This allows authorities to be able to do better contact tracing rather than doing a swab test for 100 people if there are any suspected case.
The government has also put in efforts to inform people that the device does not track the location by publicising on most platform.
I’m sure there is something called “location beacon” that collects and record the whereabout of Singaporean when they walk past the beacons with the traceTogether token.
The Singapore Government has done a good job and there are also many other initiatives that were not mentioned. The Safe Entry and TraceTogether has allowed the Singapore Government to be able to do contact tracing more efficiently compared to other countries. However, this is only possible within a small country and may not be possible in a larger country.
I will continue to give my support to the Singapore Government by continuing to scan the Safe Entry as well as carrying my traceTogether dongle wherever I go.
I’m an open book that Government can read. Googles knows more about me than any Government. You just need to be aware to not let secrets go to the online world.