A-Z inventions of Covid-19: TraceTogether and SafeEntry programmes


It is no secret that many Singaporeans are glued to their phones, but this is the year we have had to whip them out more than usual.

To combat the transmission of Covid-19, the Government launched several tech initiatives.

One of them is SafeEntry, a national digital check-in system that logs the identification and mobile numbers of individuals visiting venues to aid contact tracing efforts.

At the entry or exit points of these places, individuals check in or out by scanning a QR code and submitting their personal particulars using the SingPass Mobile app, their phone's camera function or a QR scanner app. They can also scan their identification or Passion cards or driver's licence.

The Government also launched the TraceTogether programme to speed up contact tracing and improve its accuracy.

You use either the TraceTogether app or token (right), both of which use Bluetooth signals to detect and record proximity data of other TraceTogether users. Such proximity records help contact tracers establish close contacts more quickly and efficiently.

The TraceTogether app can also be used to scan SafeEntry QR codes.

The first batch of TraceTogether tokens was given out to a select group of 10,000 seniors in June. Since Sept 14, distribution to all Singapore residents has been ongoing.

On Oct 20, it was announced that check-in for SafeEntry with the TraceTogether app or free token, also known as TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE), will be mandatory at popular venues including eateries and malls.

It will be compulsory at all public venues early next year. The Government has assured the public that TT-only SE will not be implemented until everyone who wants a token has had the chance to collect one.

Currently, TT-only SE is being piloted at selected venues such as cinemas and some places of worship.

Benson Ang

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2020, with the headline A-Z inventions of Covid-19: TraceTogether and SafeEntry programmes. Subscribe