Students of driving school turned away as TraceTogether records show close proximity to Covid-19 cases

The Straits Times is aware of at least two driving school students who were refused admittance after entry checks began on May 3, 2021.
The Straits Times is aware of at least two driving school students who were refused admittance after entry checks began on May 3, 2021.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Some students attending lessons at ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC) have been turned away as their TraceTogether app showed that they had been in close proximity to Covid-19 cases.

Separately, the two cruise lines here that operate cruises to nowhere have also disallowed guests who have potentially been exposed to the virus from sailing. But TraceTogether app data is intended only for personal reference, the Government said on Thursday (May 6).

The Straits Times is aware of at least two driving school students who were refused admittance after entry checks began on Monday.

A 25-year-old National University of Singapore undergraduate, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chua, was supposed to take his driving test on Monday but was denied entry to CDC in Ubi.

"Being rejected to take a driving test due to risk exposure is quite ridiculous," he said.

"I remember (the Health Ministry) and the media said we could continue with our daily activities and just take note of our health for the next 14 days."

Fellow driving student Gladys Chong, 27, was frustrated that she did not receive a notification from CDC about the new measure.

"If I had known, I would not have wasted my time travelling down for nothing," said the treasury services advisor.

Last night, the TraceTogether website was updated to emphasise that anyone assessed to have been a close contact of a Covid-19 case would have been called by the Ministry of Health.

"The TraceTogether team is aware that a few businesses are using information displayed under the ‘Covid Health Status’ section of the app or the ‘history’ tab to grant or deny members of the public access to their premises," it said.

"These app features are intended for personal reference and care. We are working with MOH and the relevant agencies to address this and will provide an update once it’s ready."

Ms Tammy Tan, ComfortDelGro's group chief branding and communications officer, said that CDC had taken the additional steps to safeguard the safety of its staff and students.

Transport company ComfortDelGro runs the driving centre in Ubi. Anyone now wanting to enter the facility must do so with either the TraceTogether app, a TraceTogether token or his NRIC, she noted.

This began on May 3 and was announced on the driving centre's website and MyCDC app on the same day, she added.

"Should visitors have a high temperature, or the TraceTogether app shows that they have had 'Possible Exposures', they will not be allowed to enter the premises as a safety precaution," Ms Tan said.

ComfortDelGro did not respond to queries about how the staff might know if students have had possible exposures if they do not check in with their TraceTogether app, and opt to use their ICs instead.

The CDC's website and app state that students whose theory or practical lessons fall within the 14 days from the date of possible exposure should cancel online in advance.

Among other things, the cancellation form requires students to submit details about venues where they were possibly exposed to a Covid-19 case and their last possible exposure date, according to their TraceTogether and SafeEntry records.

Ms Tan added: "We fully understand how inconvenient this can be for learners and will try to help with rescheduling as needed. Students who have to have their lessons cancelled will be refunded within three working days."

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Dream Cruises announced that passengers of World Dream whose TraceTogether app indicated possible exposure are prohibited from sailing between Friday and May 19. Those who were at Tan Tock Seng Hospital from April 18 onwards are also barred.

Guests of the Royal Caribbean were also notified Thursday morning that those with “possible exposure” on their TraceTogether app or token will be denied boarding, together with their travelling party.

Those who wish to cancel their cruise due to the prohibition can apply for a full refund, said Royal Caribbean.