Coronavirus: SafeEntry applications surge ahead of reopening of businesses

Check-in system to record all entries and exits required for digital contact tracing

SafeEntry has been currently deployed at over 16,000 premises. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Applications to implement digital check-in system SafeEntry surged over the weekend as businesses prepared to reopen from today.

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) said it has received applications from hairdressers, offices, factories, supermarkets, malls and hotels, among others, to roll out SafeEntry to 29,000 additional premises.

This brings the total number of premises with SafeEntry to 45,000 as Singapore embarks on a cautious resumption of some activities and services following a nearly three-week closure. Since April 22, businesses such as cake and dessert shops, hairdressing and barber services and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) halls had been closed as part of stricter measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

But these can open from today, subject to restrictions released last Saturday.

These restrictions include the use of SafeEntry to record all entries and exits, including of employees and visitors, for digital contact tracing.

For instance, SafeEntry must be installed at hair salons and barbers as people are likely to be in close proximity in enclosed spaces for prolonged periods.

Employers must also require all on-site personnel - including employees, visitors, suppliers and contractors - to don masks in the workplace at all times except during activities that require masks to be removed.

Companies must also have a detailed plan to monitor staff to ensure they comply with the safe management measures, and appoint safe management officers to help implement the measures in workplaces, as well as conduct inspections and checks.

Developed by the Government Technology Agency, SafeEntry logs the personal details of individuals visiting certain premises at a certain time, as well as those of workers in essential services, in order to facilitate contact tracing efforts.

These personal details include a person's name, NRIC number and mobile phone number - information which is not shared with businesses, said SNDGO, adding that data collected is stored in a government server and can "only be accessed by the authorities when needed for contact tracing purposes".

Data collection is done at entry points through the scanning of a QR code displayed at a venue, or the scanning of an individual's identification card with a barcode, such as the NRIC or a driver's licence.

While it is not mandatory for businesses or workplaces to log the exit of a person from a venue, they are encouraged to do so.

A spokesman for SNDGO acknowledged that it can be challenging to station manpower at exit points to ensure that people check out via the system.

"As such, we strongly encourage businesses to display QR codes prominently at exit points to remind individuals to check out. This will help to provide accurate and useful details such as the time spent at the premises, and reduce the time needed for our contact tracers to identify potential close contacts of Covid-19 patients," said the spokesman.

The application process to use SafeEntry with a QR code can be done within minutes, allowing businesses to print out the QR code and deploy the system almost immediately.

For businesses that wish to use SafeEntry to scan NRICs, they can log in to their CorpPass account to receive approval on the same day. CorpPass is a corporate digital identity for businesses to conduct online transactions with government agencies.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2020, with the headline SafeEntry applications surge ahead of reopening of businesses. Subscribe