TraceTogether token & app must be used by 70% of S'pore population to enter Phase 3

Mandatory at popular venues everywhere soon.

Belmont Lay | October 20, 2020, 07:42 PM

The TraceTogether token and app take-up rate must hit 70 per cent of the population before Singapore can enter Phase 3, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) said on Oct. 20.

This is part of putting in place several conditions and enablers for Singapore to continue moving towards safe re-opening.

Speaking at a briefing attended by media, Lawrence Wong who is MTF co-chair and education minister, said: "We want more people to come on board the TraceTogether programme. Today, I think about 2.5 million people are on board the programme -- about 45 per cent of the population."

"We would like that to be higher, 70 per cent or more so that TraceTogether can be more effective. And we are distributing tokens around through the community centers," he added.

TraceTogether token or app can be used

Wong also said that Singapore residents have the option of using the TraceTogether token or app.

He said: "I think, nearly 50 centers today are already distributing the tokens and by the end of November, every CC will be able to distribute tokens and you can pick it up from any CC."

"Of course, if you don't want the token, you can already download the TraceTogether app on your phone, so it's up to you. But we need that percentage to be higher. We also want to deploy more TT-only SafeEntry sort of checks."

Transition phase

Currently, there is also a transition phase to using the TraceTogether-only SafeEntry token or app exclusively.

This is to strengthen the contact tracing regime by leveraging two key digital contact tracing tools -- SafeEntry and TraceTogether, the Ministry of Health said in its statement on the roadmap to Phase 3.

These digital tools are critical for quickly ringfencing any Covid-19 cases that emerge as a result of larger group sizes and larger-scale activities.

Wong said during the briefing: "TT SafeEntry is quite pervasive, but not that TT-only SafeEntry, where the SafeEntry is done through either the TraceTogether app, or the TraceTogether token."

With the expansion of the deployment of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, visitors will be required to check in to SafeEntry through either scanning the QR code using the TraceTogether App on your phone, or by presenting your TraceTogether Token to be scanned.

This allows MOH to ensure that persons visiting places where people are likely to be in contact for prolonged periods, or where human traffic is high, have the TraceTogether App or token.

End of year timeline

TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be progressively rolled out to workplaces, schools, and more public venues, including cinemas, live performances, shopping malls and F&B outlets.

Local and international experience suggests that social interactions, which often take place in close proximity, sometimes without masks on, and often for prolonged periods, are key areas of spread, MOH said.

Wong said: "So we are going to ramp up the deployment of TT only safe entry across more public venues. We started with cinemas, we will do restaurants, or shopping malls."

"And so when we do both, higher take-up rate of TraceTogether and a wider deployment of TT-only SafeEntry, I think those conditions will help in allowing us to enter Phase 3."

"And as I said if we have these two conditions and if community transmission throughout this period remains low, then there is a good chance for us entering Phase 3, meaning to say, raising the group size from five to eight and allowing multiple zones or 50 people to come together for an event, before the end of the year."

Progress of transition to TT-only SafeEntry

Popular venues that currently require SafeEntry will transit to TraceTogether-only SafeEntry.

On-site scanning of QR codes, using SingPass Mobile to check-in and scanning of personal identification cards will be disabled.

Instead, SafeEntry is allowed only if one uses their TraceTogether app to scan the on-site QR code, or if they let the on-site entry staff scan the QR code on their TraceTogether token.

By December

From now till mid-November, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be implemented in venues with activities that involve larger groups of people.

There include live performances, business events and places of worship with more than 100 people, and cinemas.

Members of the public who intend to attend these activities are encouraged to download the TraceTogether app or collect their TraceTogether token as soon as possible.

By December, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be implemented at all popular venues where SafeEntry is currently mandatory.

Phase 3 will be for a prolonged period

Phase 3 phase is expected to be for a prolonged period, potentially more than a year, MOH said.

While Phase 3 is not a return to the pre-Covid-19 conditions, it will also not be static as there will be further reopening and scaling up of activities with a limit to the risk of super-spreading events via measures such as pre-event testing.

Where to get TraceTogether token

TraceTogether tokens are now available for collection at 38 community centres/ clubs around Singapore and are expected to be available at all 108 CCs by end-November 2020.

The TokenGoWhere website provides the latest schedule and locations for collection.

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Top photo via Singapore government