Forum: Other ways to check spread of coronavirus

A photo from Sept 12, 2018, shows a food centre with contactless payment terminals.
A photo from Sept 12, 2018, shows a food centre with contactless payment terminals.PHOTO: ST FILE

The increased focus on improvement of hygiene levels is a step in the right direction (Govt push to boost hygiene levels as virus fight intensifies, March 7). There are perhaps additional areas that may be worth investigating, to reduce the spread of the virus by reducing personal "touch points".

First, better adoption of contactless payments to reduce infection spread through currency handling. While many vendors accept e-payment, places such as most wet markets accept only cash. If PayNow can be implemented in a simple always-on phone or tablet to display a payment receipt quickly, that may solve the problem. Any need to enter additional data at the vendor level may deter the adoption, as all he needs to know is that the payment has been made.

Second, public wash basins. Most public toilets are fitted with push taps, which in most cases run for two to five seconds before shutting off the supply.

The user must push the tap again to complete the hand washing process, which defeats the whole purpose.

Third, the verification process for condominium visitors. The condo security officers deal with hundreds of visitors, handing over a piece of paper through a car window with instructions to park in the visitor's space.

There are apps already available for a resident to pre-approve a visitor using a one-time password, which saves the security officers from having contact with visitors, thereby reducing contamination possibilities while also improving efficiency.

There is also technology available to read the licence plate and flash a message to the visitor to park in the right slots.

Singapore has been commended on its handling of the Covid-19 crisis. By combining the focus on all possible ways in which the virus can spread and adopting available technology, we can take it one step further.

Shikharesh Das

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2020, with the headline 'Other ways to check spread of coronavirus'. Print Edition | Subscribe