TraceTogether programme wins international award for innovative use of tech

The TraceTogether programme comprises a mobile app and a token.
The TraceTogether programme comprises a mobile app and a token.PHOTOS: ST FILE, NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - TraceTogether, the national contact tracing programme, has won recognition on the international stage for its innovative use of digital technology.

On Monday (Dec 7), market research firm Gartner crowned TraceTogether as the Asia-Pacific winner for its 2020 Government Eye on Innovation award.

Award winners were selected by a poll of government organisations around the world.

TraceTogether beat three other finalists in the Asia-Pacific - two from Taiwan and one from India.

The respective winners for the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region were a Covid-19 data sharing platform developed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and an automated financial support platform by Swedish social insurance agency Forsakringskassan Sweden.

"We are humbled and grateful for the support we have received from our 3.4 million users - 60 per cent of Singapore's population," said TraceTogether team lead and Government Technology Agency senior director Jason Bay.

"Thank you for walking this journey of community-driven contact tracing with us, and supporting the use of Bluetooth mobile technology to contribute in the fight against Covid-19."

The TraceTogether programme comprises a mobile app and a token. Both app and token identify those in close contact with people who tested positive for Covid-19 by using proximity data collected via Bluetooth technology.

By the end of this month, checking in with the TraceTogether app or token will be mandatory at public venues, including restaurants and shopping malls.

Following a surge in demand in October, the tokens are currently being distributed one constituency at a time. At the moment, they are being given out at 37 community centres and clubs, including Aljunied CC and Bukit Batok CC.

The multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic has said that a 70 per cent TraceTogether take-up rate among Singapore's population of 5.7 million people is one of three conditions that have to be met in order for the country to move into phase three of its progressive reopening.

The other two are safe management compliance and sufficient testing capabilities.