The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) announced on Tuesday (20 Oct ) that TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be progressively implemented at popular venues such as workplaces, schools, malls, food and beverage outlets and hotels across Singapore by the end of December this year.
Currently SafeEntry methods used are scanning of QR-codes using smartphones and scanning of identity cards. However, it is said that the use of the TraceTogether app and token is vital as the country prepares to resume larger-scale events and further reopen its economy safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TraceTogether app includes a function for scanning SafeEntry QR codes, while the tokens sport a QR code with a similar function. The TraceTogether app and token work by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals with other apps or tokens nearby to provide an initial list of close contacts for COVID-19 cases. This proximity data is encrypted and stored for 25 days before being automatically deleted.
“The use of TT-only SE (TraceTogether-only SafeEntry) will provide added assurance that everyone present at these larger-scale activities is better protected by effective contact tracing through participation in the TT programme,” SNDGO said.
When TraceTogether-only SafeEntry is implemented at a venue, visitors will no longer be able to enter by scanning QR codes with phone cameras, using SingPass Mobile or scanning their personal IDs.
Instead, they will have to use the TraceTogether app to scan the venue’s QR code or allow entry staff to scan the QR code on their TraceTogether token.
From now until mid-November, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be rolled out at venues which host activities that draw larger groups of people.
These include cinemas, places of worship with more than 100 attendees, and venues hosting live performances and business events.
“Members of the public who intend to attend these activities are encouraged to download the TT app or collect their TT token as soon as possible,” the SNDGO advised.
It means members of the public will no longer be able to gain entry to these places by scanning SafeEntry QR codes with their phone cameras, or through the SingPass mobile app or barcodes on their NRIC. SafeEntry is the nation’s digital check-in system mandated at all these places.
They must instead use either the TraceTogether app or token.
Mandatory use of TraceTogether will start at cinemas, which is among venues with activities that involve larger groups of people.
The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force said in its virtual press conference on Tuesday (20 Oct) that the measure aims to get at least 70 per cent of Singapore’s population on the TraceTogether programme.
Education Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the task force said that having 70 per cent of Singapore’s population using TraceTogether is one of the conditions that has to be met for Singapore to enter phase three.
Prior to the GE2020, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said in June that the government is not planning to make it mandatory for residents in Singapore to use the proposed wearable devices for contact tracing unless circumstances will ever worsen to the point where the MOH (Ministry of Health) may say there is no choice.
Mr Wong on Tuesday said, “When we have both a higher take-up rate of TT (TraceTogether) and wider deployment of TT-only SafeEntry… and community transmission throughout this period remains low, then there is a good chance of us entering phase three… by the end of the year,”
Cases of local transmission have been low, however, imported cases continue to add on to the number of infected cases in Singapore.
Other venues with mandatory TraceTogether check-in will also include those with live performances, business events and places of worship with more than 100 people, said the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG).
Only about 2.5 million people, or 45 per cent of the population, are currently using either the TraceTogether app or token. Earlier this month, SNDGG said more than 100,000 tokens have been collected.
A full list of venues will be available on the SafeEntry website and updated “on an ongoing basis”, said SNDGO.
TraceTogether tokens are now available for collection at 38 Community Centres and Clubs (CCs) and will be available at all 108 CCs island-wide by the end of November.