The Straits Times article "Experts question relevance of SafeEntry, TraceTogether amid endemic Covid-19" (Nov 22) touched on the usefulness of TraceTogether and SafeEntry as Singapore reopens.
Indeed, with high vaccination rates, what is important is the state of Singapore's healthcare system and the number of individuals who fall severely ill or die due to Covid-19 infections. The total number of infections becomes less important.
Even so, TraceTogether and SafeEntry continue to play an important role. These IT tools alert individuals through health risk warnings to their recent exposure to Covid-19 cases, and let them take appropriate precautions, including testing themselves, reducing their activities and avoiding interaction with vulnerable individuals.
In the first two weeks of this month, about 3,000 persons identified through TraceTogether as close contacts and who were served health risk warnings later tested Covid-19-positive.
SafeEntry also helps us better understand the transmission of the virus. The data captured allows us to identify settings and locations with higher risk of transmission, and to make policy adjustments to reduce spread of Covid-19 in these areas.
In addition, TraceTogether and SafeEntry are used for checks for vaccination-differentiated safe management measures to enable safe and regulated entry into higher-risk locations.
In recent weeks, several countries in Europe have had to tighten movement control measures in the face of surging Covid-19 cases. This reminds us to remain vigilant as we work towards a safe and sustainable reopening.
We will continue to review the use of TraceTogether and SafeEntry in line with our overall contact tracing approach.
Vernon Lee (Professor)
Senior Director, Communicable Diseases Division
Ministry of Health