Singapore to soon roll out COVID-19 contact tracing device

Gurdip Singh

Singapore, Jun 5 (PTI) Singapore will soon roll out a wearable contact tracing device to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 that has affected more than 37,000 people in the country, a senior minister said on Friday.

Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan told Parliament that technical difficulties have prevented Singapore's contact tracing app TraceTogether from working well on iPhones.

The government is developing and will 'soon' roll out a portable and wearable contact tracing device, the Indian-origin minister said.

'If this portable device works, we may then distribute it to everyone in Singapore,' he said.

'And I believe this will be more inclusive, and it will ensure that all of us will be protected,' he said.

The TraceTogether app works by sending Bluetooth signals to each other when in close proximity, making it easier for authorities to conduct contact tracing when a user tests positive for COVID-19.

The contact tracing device will 'achieve the same objectives' as TraceTogether, but without the need for a smartphone, said Balakrishnan.

Meanwhile, the city-state recorded 261 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Friday, with the lower number partly due to a decline in the number of swab tests conducted, the ministry of health said.

Eleven new community cases were reported. Six of the community cases are linked to previously confirmed cases and had already been placed in quarantine. Another case is linked to a dormitory cluster.

'Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for the remaining four,' the ministry said.

The remaining 250 new cases are foreign workers on work permits and residing in foreign worker dormitories.

Friday's cases take the total number of infections in Singapore to 37,183. The city-state has recorded 24 deaths linked to COVID-19. PTI GS NSA