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Singapore's Contact-Tracing Deploys Innovative Technologies

January 12, 2021 • 6:13 am CST
(Coronavirus Today)

For Singaporeans, the COVID-19 pandemic has been closely intertwined with technology and disease management with two innovative technologies, wrote Kirsten Han a freelance journalist on January 11, 2021.

The first technology is a QR code, whose little black-and-white squares have been ubiquitous in Singapore as part of the SafeEntry contact tracing system. Under SafeEntry, anyone entering a public venue, such as restaurants or stores, must scan their QR code and register with a name, ID or passport number, and phone number. If somebody tests positive for the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19, contact tracers track down those who got close enough to be potentially infected.

There’s also TraceTogether, an app that launched in March 2020. It uses Bluetooth to ping close contacts; if two people are in proximity, their devices trade anonymized and encrypted user IDs that can be decrypted by the Ministry of Health should one person test positive for COVID-19. 

According to Han's article published by MIT Technology Review, while TraceTogether is currently voluntary, the government has announced that it is going to merge the two systems, to help reduce the spreading of the disease.