Combating COVID-19 with Technology

Singapore’s Technology Driven Response To The Pandemic

COVID-19 tech solutions

For many of us, COVID-19 is the crisis of our generation. The pandemic has shutdown cities, has caused deficits in economies and put the lives of many people on hold as they stayed at home to keep the virus from spreading.

In Singapore, we managed to respond swiftly and effectively to the pandemic using technology to keep our people safe. Smart Nation and Digital Government Group worked closely with various Government agencies to assist with public health response and beyond.

Suite of Contact Tracing and Management Tech

COVID-19 contact tracing and management technology

Digital contact tracing solutions had to be swiftly conceptualised and implement 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

SafeEntry is our national digital check-in system that logs the information of individuals who visit selected locations to support our contract tracing efforts.

Individuals who wish to enter a venue where SafeEntry is mandatory, will need to have either an active TT App or a working TT Token. They can only perform SafeEntry check-ins by:

  1. Using their TT App to scan the venue’s QR code;
  2. Displaying their TT Token for venue staff to scan the TT Token’s QR code;
  3. Tapping their TT App or TT Token at a SafeEntry Gateway device.

With SafeEntry, we can log the individuals' entry and exit times to a location to have a complete picture of how far the virus can spread and allow the health authorities to understand the virus transmission better.

For information on SafeEntry at public transport nodes, click here

TraceTogether Programme

The TraceTogether Programme supports Singapore's digital contact tracing effort in the fight against COVID-19. It comprises the TraceTogether App and TraceTogether Token, and both the App and Token work 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 June 2020 and distributed to 10,000 senior citizens before nation-wide distribution kicked off in September 2020.

TraceTogether helps the contact tracers identify the close contacts of a COVID-19 patient which helps to ringfence possible exposures and infections to stop the spread of the virus.

We have also open-sourced TraceTogether's source code so that other organisations and countries are able to create their contact tracing solution based on their individual needs.

Homer

The Homer app allows the Government agencies managing Stay Home Notices (SHN) or Quarantine Orders (QO) to keep in touch with the individuals that have been put on SHN or QO.

The App uses its auto location reporting function to submit the individual's current location to the relevant authorities multiple times a day. Individuals also use the App to update their health status and reports as required.

Homer allows the Government agencies to manage all the individuals on their SHN or QO effectively and monitor their health status.

Informational Websites and Platforms

COVID-19 information websites and platforms

With the rapidly changing situation at the start of the pandemic, there was a critical need to ensure that the members of the public receive verified information to ensure that citizens are well-informed. After the initial anxiety had calmed down, the need for verified information is crucial to provide the public assurances that information is accurate with multiple sources of information.

Below is the list of sources where people can get verified information at any time, day or night.

COVID-19 Situation Report Dashboard

This site presents the key statistics and figures on the current pandemic situation in Singapore.

FluGoWhere

This site allows the public to find a PHPC clinic closest to them should they need to see a doctor if they have any respiratory infections.

PHPC clinics are equipped to handle cases with respiratory infections and provide subsidised treatment, investigations and medications during outbreaks. They play an essential role during public health outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov.sg WhatsApp 

This platform delivers daily updates and information on COVID-19 to over 1.2 million subscribers in their preferred language. From this source, the members of the public can be assured that they are receiving verified information.

This platform is also used for other key Government announcements – such as the Budget and National Day Rally announcements.

Gov.sg Info Bot 

As of December 2020, this tireless Bot addressed over 865k COVID-19 related queries to help the public stay updated on credible COVID-19-related news and information.

TokenGoWhere

As the TraceTogether Token collection was launched in batches, TokenGoWhere allowed citizens to check when the Community Centres (CC) closest to them would begin distribution and operating hours. The public can also check the Token stock levels at each CC to ensure that they would make a wasted trip down.

MaskGoWhere

When the outbreak hit Singapore's shores, there was a surge in demand for facemasks, and many stores ran out of stocks. On 30 January 2020, it was announced that each household would receive four surgical masks from specific distribution centres between 1 – 9 February 2020.

GovTech created a website for citizens to find the nearest centre to collect their masks based on their postal code within 48 hours. Read GovTech's look back on how they raced against time and hurdles to get the site up and running.

Public Health Solutions

COVID-19 tech solutions

Rolling out digital services to help with the management and containment of the virus was essential. The services had to be implemented keeping in mind that we will have to live with COVID-19 over the next few years. With the following solutions, we believe we can boost community preparedness and confidence to manage and pull through this challenging time.

HealthCerts

HealthCerts was developed as a globally interoperable standard for COVID-19 test results and vaccinations certificates to facilitate the safe resumption of travel.

Notarise & Verify System

The system endorses locally-issued COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates and checks the authenticity of such certificates.

National Appointment System (NAS) for COVID-19 Vaccination

To support the roll-out of nation-wide vaccinations, we created a microsite for residents to schedule their appointments once they receive their Registration Code. This efficient system helps to manage the appointments and administrative load ensures that the vaccination doses are sufficient and used with minimal wastage.

Space Out

Launched in April 2020, it enabled people to check crowd levels at various locations during the circuit breaker to promote safe distancing.

SPOTON Smart Thermal Scanner

SPOTON enables faster crowd temperature scanning of up to ten people at a time. This scanner minimises physical contact, reduces manpower and speeds up check-ins to popular and high traffic locations.

For more information on SPOTON, head over to GovTech's Developer Portal.

SupplyAlly

SupplyAlly is a mobile app that facilitates the process of logistics distribution. It has been used for the distribution of masks, TraceTogether Tokens and various COVID-19 initiatives. SupplyAlly provides the logistical distribution support to ensure that all data and stock levels were captured accurately.

SupplyAlly has facilitated the management of hundreds of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic, distribution of 4.2 million reusable masks, over $20 million in physical credit vouchers and the issuance of TraceTogether Tokens. The App continues to be used by charity organisations for food redemptions. 

VigilantGantry

VigilantGantry is a fully automated AI-driven temperature screening gantry that saves time and manpower.

The AI-driven system can record temperatures even with headgear or hair fringes – avoiding any required human intervention! GovTech has open-sourced the solution for wider adoption in the public sector.

Providing Social and Economic Support

COVID-19 social and economic support

Many different issues and concerns arose as a result of the pandemic. Due to the economic crisis, jobs were lost or salaries reduced. Students had to settle for home-based learning.

As such, platforms were quickly set up to assist with the various changes – such as websites to apply for COVID-19 grants.

COVID-19 GoBusiness portal

The GoBusiness platform for business was used as a one-stop portal to provide businesses with information on safe management requirements and to apply to resume operations.

COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) application portal

Launched in May 2020 to provide temporary support to Singaporeans whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19. The CSG was available until the end of 2020 and approved 98,000 applications since its launch.

CSG was replaced with the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) with revised eligibility criteria in 2021

COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) application portal

Launched in January 2021, it is to continue the support to workers who need some temporary financial help. The Grant focuses on workers in lower- to middle-income households who are presently experiencing involuntary job loss and will be open for application until 31 December 2021.

SupportGoWhere 

SupportGoWhere, a LifeSG initiative, provides citizens with a single portal to determine which assistance schemes they would be eligible for. It also has an Eligibility Checker, which lists the schemes that might be available to you when you answer a few questions.

Student Learning Space

When schools had to be closed during the circuit breaker period, MOE tapped on the Student Learning Space (SLS) to ensure that learning could continue while the world battled COVID-19. With the help of SLS, 420,000 students and 33,000 teachers transitioned smoothly to home-based learning.

Last updated on 06 Jul 2021