Digital contact tracing solutions had to be swiftly conceptualised and implemented as the virus hit our shores. The virus needed to be ringfenced so fewer people will be infected and ensure that our health care system was not overloaded. To do this well, effective contact tracing was paramount.
With the help of the digital contact tracing tools – TraceTogether (TT) and SafeEntry, we managed to reduce the average time to identify and quarantine close contacts from 4 days to less than 1.5 days.
SafeEntry was our national digital check-in system that logged the information of individuals who visited selected locations to support our contact tracing efforts.
Individuals who wished to enter a venue where SafeEntry was mandatory needed to have either an active TT App or a working TT Token. They could only perform SafeEntry check-ins by:
Using their TT App to scan the venue’s QR code
Displaying their TT Token for venue staff to scan the TT Token’s QR code
Tapping their TT App or TT Token at a SafeEntry Gateway device
With SafeEntry, we could log the individuals’ entry and exit times to a location to have a complete picture of how far the virus could spread and allow the health authorities to understand the virus transmission better.
The TraceTogether Programme supported Singapore’s digital contact tracing effort in the fight against COVID-19. It comprised the TraceTogether App and TraceTogether Token. Both the App and Token worked by using Bluetooth signals to record other nearby TraceTogether devices.
The App was launched on 20 March 2020, while the engineers worked on the Token to ensure that everyone could participate in the program, even if they did not use a smartphone. The Token was launched in August 2020 and was distributed to 10,000 senior citizens before nationwide distribution kicked off in August 2020.
TraceTogether helped the contact tracers identify the close contacts of a COVID-19 patient, which helped to ringfence possible exposures and infections to stop the spread of the virus.
The source code of TraceTogether has also been open-sourced so that other organisations and countries are able to create their contact tracing solutions based on their individual needs.
The Homer app allowed Government agencies managing Stay Home Notices (SHN) or Quarantine Orders (QO) to keep in touch with individuals who had been placed on SHN or QO.
The App used its auto-location reporting function to submit the individual’s current location to the relevant authorities multiple times a day. Individuals also used the App to update their health status and report as required.
Homer allowed the Government agencies to manage all the individuals on their SHN or QO effectively and monitor their health status.