Travellers to Singapore to wear electronic tracking device while serving Covid-19 stay-home notice outside of facilities

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The authorities said travellers will be issued with the device at the checkpoints after clearing immigration. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - All travellers entering Singapore who are serving their stay-home notice (SHN) outside of dedicated facilities will soon have to wear an electronic monitoring device.

From Aug 10, 11.59pm, such travellers will have to wear the device throughout the 14-day stay-home period.

They include citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, work pass holders and their dependants. Children aged 12 and below are exempted.

The stay-home rule was extended to all incoming travellers from March 21. Travellers serve the notice either at their home or at dedicated facilities, and are tested for Covid-19 at designated community testing facilities before the end of the stay-home period.

In a joint statement on Monday (Aug 3), the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the ministries of Manpower and Education (MOM) said the devices will allow them to monitor those serving the SHN more effectively as travel restrictions are progressively lifted.

The devices are a change from the combination of text messages, voice and video calls and house visits the authorities have been using to make sure the rules are observed.

The authorities said travellers will be issued with the device at the checkpoints after clearing immigration.

They will need to activate it once they reach their place of residence. If it is not activated, the authorities will follow up to determine their location and help with technical difficulties or take enforcement action, as needed.

GPS and 4G or Bluetooth signals are used to determine if a person is within range of their place of residence.

Those wearing the device may receive notifications from it during the stay-home period and should acknowledge these in a timely manner, said the authorities.

"Any attempt to leave the place of residence or tamper with the electronic device will trigger an alert to the authorities,"said the joint statement.

The authorities will then investigate unless the person is leaving their residence for a Covid-19 test, by appointment.

After the SHN is fully served, the device should be deactivated and thrown away, or returned according to instructions.

Those who tamper with or remove the device during the SHN period can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to six months, or face both punishments.

For foreigners, ICA and MOM can also revoke or shorten the validity of permits and work passes.

The authorities said the devices do not store any personal data and cannot record video or audio.

Data transmitted to the authorities is also protected by end-to-end certificate-based encryption, they added.

"The authorities will abide strictly by public sector data protection rules in managing and protecting personal data collected by these devices," they said, adding that this includes the recommendations of the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee.

"Only government officials authorised by the respective authorities will have access to the data for the purposes of monitoring and investigation."

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