What you need to know about the soon-to-be compulsory TraceTogether check-ins

Facebook/Vivian Balakrishnan

As Singapore prepares to enter Phase 3 of its reopening in the coming months, changes are to be expected.

By the end of the year, check-ins via TraceTogether will be compulsory at public venues to enhance contact tracing efforts, as more social gatherings are allowed. Group sizes may also increase from five to eight in the future, the multi-ministry task force said on Tuesday (Oct 20).

Here are some frequently asked questions about the TraceTogether token as well as the mobile app answered.

What's the difference between TraceTogether vs SafeEntry?

TraceTogether — both token and mobile app — help identify people in close contact with those who test positive for Covid-19 with the use of proximity data via Bluetooth technology. They will then be alerted immediately to so they can help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

SafeEntry is a digital check-in system that helps keep track of the people who enter and exit locations so the Ministry of Health (MOH) can spot possible clusters when a Covid-19 case pops up.

If a location is equipped with QR code scanners, you can start using the TraceTogether tokens to check in to the SafeEntry system as well. Here is the current list of locations where you can do so. 

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How does the TraceTogether programme work?

The TraceTogether mobile app and token work by exchanging Bluetooth signals with nearby phones or tokens of other TraceTogether users. Records of these encounters are stored in each user's phone or token.

For those concerned about privacy, this data is anonymous and will only be shared with the Ministry of Health (MOH) if the user tests positive for Covid-19. If not, the data is automatically deleted in 25 days. 

What are the benefits of the TraceTogether programme?

The TraceTogether mobile app and token, along with the SafeEntry system, allow for quicker contact tracing whenever there is a community outbreak.

With these implemented, the average time for contact tracing and quarantining a close contact of a Covid-19 case has been reduced from four days to two days, MOH said.

Where do I need to use TraceTogether?

Currently, TraceTogether is being implemented first at locations with large crowds, starting with cinemas. 

Following cinemas are locations where large gatherings happen such as workplaces, schools, places of worships, malls, restaurants, hotels and healthcare facilities.

By the end of 2020, TraceTogether must be used to check in at all venues where SafeEntry is mandatory.

Without the token, can I still visit the cinema?

Cinemagoers have to use either the TraceTogether mobile app or the token to be allowed entry to the cinema. There will be a three-week grace period from Oct 26.

By Nov 16, it will be compulsory for you to have either the app or the token to be allowed entry into the cinema. 

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How do I get a TraceTogether token?

The tokens are currently being distributed at community centres/clubs or mobile booths in selected shopping malls. You can visit TokenGoWhere for information on where to collect your token.

All residents aged seven and above are eligible to collect a token. You can collect the token by presenting your NRIC or student pass/birth certificate (for children) at the collection venues listed here. 

Do I have to use the token if I have the TraceTogether mobile app?

You can choose to either use the Tracetogether mobile app or the token.

The token was created to support those who may not own a mobile device like the elderly or those who prefer not to have the app running on their phone at all times.

If you choose to use the mobile app instead of the token, the app has to be running in the background with Bluetooth turned on. 

Do kids need to use TraceTogether?

As long as your child is aged seven or above, they will need to use either the app or the token. 

If you require assistance, email support@tracetogether.gov.sg or visit https://support.tracetogether.gov.sg/hc/en-sg

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

This article has been edited for clarity.

annatan@asiaone.com