2nd Nov 2020
Ms He Ting Ru
MP for Sengkang GRC
Question No. 360
To ask the Minister for Health what are the specific reasons for deciding that TraceTogether will be made compulsory for certain situations given previous assertions that there are no plans to make it compulsory.
1 TraceTogether has helped to identify about 25,000 close contacts of COVID-19 cases so far, of which 160 were eventually tested positive for COVID-19. It has reduced the time taken to identify and isolate a close contact from four days to less than two days now. We need to reduce this time taken further. This is essential to limit the spread of COVID-19 as it breaks the chains of disease transmission and limits the potential for large clusters and multiple generations of spread.
2 As of 29 Oct, we have almost 3 million individuals using TraceTogether – about 2.7 million have downloaded the app1, and about 562,000 residents have collected the TraceTogether Token since we started community distribution on 14 Sep. The effectiveness of TraceTogether increases as more users come onboard. Higher participation in the programme will give us greater confidence to move safely towards Phase 3 to further resume general economic and social activities.
3 To this end, while we have not made it mandatory for all residents to adopt TraceTogether at all times, we have been trialing the use of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry since August 2020. Visitors who choose to visit selected higher-risk settings were required to check in to SafeEntry by using either the TraceTogether App or Token. These included settings such as business-to-business events and live performances, where there is high human traffic, or where people are likely to be in close contact for prolonged periods of time. The use of TraceTogether has given us the confidence to increase the scale of participation at these settings – business-to-business events, for instance, have been allowed to involve up to 250 people on a pilot basis. Other settings where TraceTogether-only SafeEntry has been implemented – including live performances, cinemas, and places of worship – have also been allowed to resume with higher capacities. We will broaden TraceTogether-only SafeEntry to more venues such as malls, workplaces and F&B outlets in order to move towards Phase 3 safely.
4 As other countries around the world re-open, we have seen how the lack of a robust contact tracing system had contributed to a resurgence in cases, with some countries having to impose second lockdowns to limit the spread of the disease. In order to avoid the same situation happening in Singapore, we need to ensure comprehensive coverage of our digital tools. We thus strongly encourage everyone to participate actively in both the TraceTogether and SafeEntry programmes, so that we can safely resume activities and open up our economy. Let us all play our part to stay ahead of the pandemic and contribute collectively to keeping Singapore safe.
1 Those who have downloaded the TT app may have also collected TT tokens.