The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday that TraceTogether tokens will be distributed for free nationwide from September 14 till November.
Residents in Jalan Besar and Tanjong Pagar will be the first to get the tokens as these districts have a larger proportion of seniors.
MOH notes that seniors are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and are also less likely to own a smartphone.
Residents can go to the TokenGoWhere website for more details on the collection sites and timing.
The TraceTogether token is a contact-tracing device that enables quick tracking of people who have been exposed to COVID-19 cases.
It is a small device that can be easily slipped into bags or pockets. The token exchanges Bluetooth signals with other nearby tokens or mobile phones together with the TraceTogether app.
The interaction is logged in the devices. All logs will be encrypted and logs older than 25 days will be automatically deleted.
If the user becomes infected with COVID-19, the device will need to be physically handed over to the authorities to extract data needed to do the contact tracing.
You Can Only Enter Certain Higher-Risk Venues With TraceTogether
Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan said the government will pilot a scheme that requires people to use either the TraceTogether token or app to check in at certain venues starting next month.
The TraceTogether app has been downloaded 2.4 million times so far, “but we actually still want to push participation in this programme because this is one of those things where the more people we have onboard, the more effective the level of protection afforded to all of us,” he said.
These changes come as Singapore prepares to allow bigger meetings and conferences with up to 250 participants, and will mean that SafeEntry check-in data is supplemented with proximity data from TraceTogether.
This approach could allow for a safer increase in capacity limits at larger events and premises with any potential future easing of measures.
“For these sorts of events where you’re going to have more people interacting, it’s not enough to just know who has been in this building, say, in the last hour,” explained Dr Balakrishnan.
“You actually want to know, of that group of people who happen to be in the building, who actually has been in close proximity to each other. In order to have that level of granularity, you do need proximity data.”
In a Facebook post, Minister Lawrence Wong said that this pilot scheme will gradually be expanded to more venues.
“Especially in settings where there are large groups of people, close interactions, and where masks are not worn eg. hotels (wedding functions), F&B outlets, cinemas, gyms and certain workplaces,” he added.
S’poreans To Get SMS Alerts If They Were In Same Venue As COVID-19 Cases
Separately, the authorities will also be introducing a self-check and text message service from 10 September.
With this new service, people can be alerted if they have visited the same venues at the same time as COVID-19 cases, based on their own SafeEntry records.
The self-check service will be available on the TraceTogether app, SingPass Mobile or wereyouthere.safeentry.gov.sg.
SMS alerts will be sent to a smaller group of individuals who were at locations seen to pose a higher risk of transmission at the same time as COVID-19 cases as well.
This includes dining places and gyms where people do not wear masks for extended periods.
“These features will help everyone to play their part to stay ahead of the pandemic, and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” MOH said.
Featured Image Credit: Lawrence Wong via Facebook