More than 60 per cent of residents in Singapore are using the TraceTogether token or app.
This latest figure provided by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) is about 10 percentage points higher than before , but still shy of the 70 per cent benchmark requirement for Singapore to enter Phase 3.
SNDGG’s update on the adoption rate of TraceTogether, the digital contact-tracing tool, is keenly watched, as it serves as a bellwether of Singapore’s progress towards Phase 3, which would lead to the resumption of more economic activities.
500,000 and more people to go
Singapore’s total population is about 5.7 million now.
More than half a million people would need to use TraceTogether to achieve the 70 per cent mark.
The 50 per cent threshold was crossed in November.
But with less than three weeks to the end of 2020, there is only a slim chance for the 70 per cent target to be met by then.
Aversion to TraceTogether
SNDGG added that the aversion to using TraceTogether is due to several factors.
The most common belief is that SafeEntry is sufficient.
However, SNDGG said via a spokesperson that “TraceTogether and SafeEntry are complementary tools that serve different functions” and these digital tools are used together to improve the speed and accuracy of contact tracing.
Other reasons for not taking up TraceTogether have been attributed to the app draining a phone’s battery, as well as data privacy and security concerns.
SNDGG has addressed these concerns previously.
Singapore is progressively moving towards mandatory TraceTogether token or app usage at popular venues with large crowds, such as schools and malls.
Tokens to be more readily available
To ensure widespread access to the physical tokens, SNDGG added that the collection of the TraceTogether token is expected to proceed at a steady pace, with more distribution points at community centres expected to open in the coming weeks.
Demand for these tokens has outstripped supply so far.
SNDGG comprises the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and the Government Technology Agency.
On Oct. 20, Lawrence Wong, the education minister who co-chairs the governmental task force on Covid-19, first mentioned that the 70 per cent target is among the requirements for entering Phase 3.
It was posited at that time, when TraceTogether adoption rate was 45 per cent, that Phase 3 could be reached by the end of 2020.
Two other requirements are having sufficient testing capabilities and general compliance with safe distancing measures.
Difference between TraceTogether and SafeEntry
TraceTogether helps the Ministry of Health (MOH) identify people who were near to or in close contact with Covid-19 cases during their infectious period.
SafeEntry helps Covid-19 cases remember the places that they have been to so that MOH can spot potential clusters.
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