Factsheet: TraceTogether Programme

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FACTSHEET

TRACETOGETHER PROGRAMME

 

8 June 2020 - Effective contact tracing is critical as Singapore take steps to open up. A good contact tracing programme helps to halt the spread of the disease by quickly identifying close contacts, providing early treatment and isolating them effectively. This will enable transmissions to be well-contained, so that we do not have to go back into circuit breaker mode again due to an uncontrolled outbreak.

 

2. Without the wide usage of digital contact tools, contact tracing will be too slow, onerous and unreliable since we need to rely heavily on human memory to identify who the positive patients have been in close contact with in order to quickly isolate them; and to uncover potential hotspots before further transmissions occur. Rapid contact tracing will help reduce these risks.

 

3. We have introduced digital tools and solutions including TraceTogether and SafeEntry to supplement contact tracing efforts by the Ministry of Health (MOH). The use of digital contact tracing tools have enabled us to go from taking 2-3 days to do activity-mapping for a patient, to issuing a quarantine order in less than a day. However, in order for the time efficiency and accuracy of contact tracing to improve, we need more people on board the TraceTogether programme. It is only with sufficient usage and the relevant data that these digital tools can work effectively.

 

4. To date, about 1.8 million people have downloaded the TraceTogether app on a voluntary basis, but this is not enough. The app currently does not cover the digitally excluded population including the elderly and young children may not have smartphones. It also does not work reliably on iOS devices, and can pose a significant drain on battery life. This is a feature of the iOS, and cannot be reliably overcome by the app design.

 

TraceTogether Token

 

5. We are expanding the TraceTogether Programme to include a standalone device – TraceTogether Token. The TraceTogether Token will ensure better coverage for everyone in Singapore for effective contact tracing. It will function in the same way the app does and uses Bluetooth signals to record other nearby TraceTogether devices.

6. TraceTogether Token has no GPS. This means the device does not capture geolocation data and captures only proximity data. This means a person cannot be tracked and nobody would know where a person has been.

 

7. The device has no Internet or cellular connectivity. This means the data cannot be pulled from the device unless the user physically hands in the device to MOH contact tracers, if and when he/she is confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. In the unlikely event that the user becomes a patient, it is critical that we identify the close contacts as soon as possible. This is when MOH will ask the user to hand over his device for the data to be extracted, for contact tracing. If users are not identified to be COVID positive, the encrypted proximity data will reside in the device for 25 days and then be deleted on a rolling basis.

 

TraceTogether Data will only be used to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic

 

8. Preserving and upholding privacy remains our key priority as we continue to improve these digital solutions to meet our needs and circumstances. Personal data will be protected and used only for contact tracing purposes and to curb the spread of COVID-19.

 

9. Only a small number of authorised personnel will have access to the data for contact tracing purposes. All public sector data protection rules will apply to the data held by MOH, including abiding by the recommendations of the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee.

 

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For media enquiries, please contact:

 

Goh Yu Chong

Senior Manager, Adoption and Engagement Directorate

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore

Mobile: 9644 1674

Email: Goh_Yu_Chong@pmo.gov.sg

 

Nasrath Hassan

Deputy Director, Adoption and Engagement Directorate

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore

Mobile: 9001 0050

Email: Nasrath_Hassan@pmo.gov.sg

Last updated on 29 Sep 2020