Singapore will start giving out wearable devices that use Bluetooth to track people’s interactions, as the country looks to resume more public activities in the coming weeks. The devices are called ‘tokens,’ and they are built on Singapore’s contact tracing smartphone app TraceTogether.
The devices will be given away for free. The users need to wear the device all the time. The battery lasts up to nine months without needing a recharge.
To date, its TraceTogether app has topped 2.4 million downloads, accounting for about 40% of the local population.
The island nation’s vulnerable elderly people will be the first ones to receive the devices. In June, an initial batch of 10,000 TraceTogether Tokens were distributed to the elderly.
The Singapore government said plans are also underway to further pilot the mandatory use of the TraceTogether app or wearable to facilitate SafeEntry check-ins at selected venues that held higher-risk activities, such as larger-scale business-to-business events.
Over time, the country would further expand usage of the app to include venues such as hotels, F&B outlets, cinemas, gyms, and some workplaces.
“As such settings have the potential to spark off large outbreaks from a single positive COVID-19 case that spread beyond the activity or venue, the use of TraceTogether can facilitate rapid and comprehensive contact tracing to stem onward spread,” the government said.
Singapore was the first country to deploy a national coronavirus-tracing app. Around 2.1 million people, representing about 35% of the population, downloaded the software, according to the local authorities, reports BBC.
Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, said he hopes up to 75% of people will use the devices voluntarily. The Singapore government has not announced any plans to require people to use the wearable devices.