Coronavirus: Contact tracing

New service for people to check if they were near Covid-19 cases

The self-checking service is being launched in response to public feedback.
The self-checking service is being launched in response to public feedback.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

From today, people who were in higher-risk locations - such as dining places and gyms - at the same time as a Covid-19 case will be notified through an SMS alert.

People will also be able to use their TraceTogether app to check if they were in close proximity to someone with the coronavirus, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) announced yesterday.

The Ministry of Health currently publishes a list of public locations visited by Covid-19 cases during the period when they were infectious.

More than 90 such places were listed over the last five weeks.

The SNDGO said the self-checking service, known as the SafeEntry Location Matching Self-Check service, is being launched in response to public feedback.

It will be available on an updated version of the TraceTogether app from today. The service can also be accessed via SingPass Mobile or at this website.

SMS notifications will be sent only to a smaller group of individuals whose SafeEntry check-in and check-out timings overlap with Covid-19 cases in the higher-risk locations.

The SNDGO called on individuals to provide updated phone numbers for their TraceTogether app as well as to check in and check out of locations promptly using SafeEntry, so as to avoid any erroneous notifications. It also asked businesses to provide accurate SafeEntry address records.

"This also helps our contact tracers more accurately establish links and transmission chains," said the SNDGO.

 
 
 

Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan said at a virtual press conference yesterday that prompt contact tracing is key to fighting the coronavirus.

"We are dealing with an infection. By definition, there is always a transmission chain - meaning I must have been infected by somebody else, and if the pandemic is to continue, I must in turn infect somebody else next along the chain," said Dr Balakrishnan, who is also Foreign Minister.

"The number of people who would be infected is directly related to how quickly we can identify and isolate the person," he added.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2020, with the headline 'New service for people to check if they were near Covid-19 cases'. Print Edition | Subscribe