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TraceTogether app’s Bluetooth data helped identify writer as close contact

We thank Mr Jeff Tan Hong Liak for his letter (“Why didn’t TraceTogether app identify contact with positive case?” 22 Jun).

We would like to reassure Mr Tan that the TraceTogether app is functioning as intended.

Mr Tan had been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case who had tested positive for COVID-19 infection on 18 June, based on TraceTogether data, and was issued a quarantine order on the same day.

For contact tracing, we rely on a variety of tools, including SafeEntry data, TraceTogether Bluetooth data, as well as interviews with the infected individuals to identify possible contacts. 

The exposure alerts on the TraceTogether app are generated purely from SafeEntry data, and show possible exposure based on a user’s SafeEntry check-in or check-out records from the last 14 days.

The intent of the alert is for persons who happen to be in the same general vicinity as a COVID-19 case to monitor their health for 14 days and be advised to see a doctor promptly should they develop symptoms of acute respiratory infection.

Such exposure alerts displayed in the TraceTogether app do not cover certain places, such as healthcare facilities.

In these areas, visitors, patients and staff movement are better documented, making more targeted identification of contacts possible as compared to places such as shopping malls.

Moreover, the risk of exposure at healthcare facilities is controlled through the use of personal protective equipment and the strict adherence to Safe Management Measures and infection control measures. 

TraceTogether Bluetooth data is used for the identification of close contacts.

The TraceTogether Bluetooth function was working as intended in the background, and TraceTogether Bluetooth data led to Mr Tan being identified as a close contact and subsequently placed on quarantine.

We would like to remind the public to turn on their TraceTogether app or carry their TraceTogether token at all times when they are out, so that we can quickly identify and isolate close contacts of COVID-19 cases, and limit further transmission.

Vernon Lee (Professor)
Senior Director, Communicable Diseases Division
Ministry of Health


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