As the ongoing epidemic looks set to stay for a significant while, nations around the world have begun planning for life (with the presence of the virus) ahead in earnest.
And as one might surmise, Singapore is no different, having already implemented a Contact Tracing app, the recently lifted Circuit Breaker and the newest…
But what is SafeEntry all about, and is it truly as safe as they preach? Well, without further ado…
Let’s break into it.
10 Facts About SafeEntry You Probably Didn’t Know About
1. What Is SafeEntry?
According to Gov.sg, SafeEntry is a “national digital check-in system that logs the NRIC/FINs and mobile numbers of individuals visiting hotspots, workplaces of essential services, as well as selected public venues to prevent and control the transmission of COVID-19 through activities such as contact tracing and identification of COVID-19 clusters”.
In short, it’s a fast and efficient way of determining where an individual has gone, without all the troublesome cons that come with manual contact tracing.
2. How Does The SafeEntry System Work?
Depending on the location, up to three check-in methods are available:
- Scanning QR code with SingPass Mobile to determine your location
- Scan QR code and fill in personal details
- Use your NRIC or any official ID with barcode
I’ll go into detail about how they work, in the next point.
3. A Layman’s Guide To Mastering The SafeEntry System
As mentioned in the previous point, there are three methods to the SafeEntry system.
To ensure correct usage of the system, one should make sure to take note of the following:
- Individuals can check-in/out from SafeEntry at entry/exit points by either scanning a QR code with the SingPass mobile app or opting from a list of nearby locations using the ‘SafeEntry Check-In function’.
- Have a staff member scan your identification card (must have a barcode). Examples of such cards include NRIC, Passion card, Pioneer Generation card, Merdeka Generation card, driver’s licence, Transitlink concession card, student pass and work permit.
- Scan a QR code at the venue with your mobile and submit your personal particulars (your NRIC and contact number).
4. It’s Compulsory For All Businesses In Operation
According to Gov.sg, all businesses and services in operation right now are required to incorporate SafeEntry for their employees, associates or vendors, wherever applicable.
The following list of facilities/places must also set up the SafeEntry system to record the check-in of customers, clients, students and visitors entering the premises:
- Workplaces e.g. offices, factories
- Schools and educational institutes
- Preschools and student care centres
- Healthcare facilities e.g. hospitals, clinics, TCM clinics, complementary healthcare facilities
- Residential and community-based care facilities e.g. nursing homes, Senior Activity Centres, Senior Care Centres, Day Activity Centres for Persons with Disabilities
- Hairdressers / barbers
- Selected popular wet markets (Geylang Serai Market, Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road (Chong Pang Market), Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane, and Block 505 Jurong West Street 52)
- Places of worship
- Banks and financial institutions
- Funeral parlours
- Facilities providing basic pet services (that do not function on a drop-off, pick-up basis)
The list will be updated as Singapore gradually moves out of its Circuit Breaker phases. You can check https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg for any further updates.
However, there are exemptions in some cases.
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Retail outlets where customers are not expected to linger in close proximity for long periods of time are encouraged, not required, to incorporate SafeEntry for customers. These places include pharmacies, convenience stores and heartland provision shops.
It’s also not compulsory for F&B outlets to install SafeEntry for customers at the present time, considering how they are only open for delivery and/or takeaway.
Businesses can go to safeentry.gov.sg to register for the service. You can also refer to this link for a step-by-step guide of setting it up for your business.
SafeEntry is touted to reduce the manual effort required to take down the entry and exit of each visitor.
6. What About Taxis?
Lest you’re wondering that, SafeEntry has actually been progressively introduced to taxis since 12 May 2020, to aid contact tracing efforts for street-hail trips.
All passengers who board the taxi can scan the provided SafeEntry QR codes.
7. Beta Phase
As of 27 May 2020, the SafeEntry system was in its Beta phase.
Businesses were asked to test and provide feedback on new versions of the system before it’s released to the public.
To ensure greater security, updates to the system are consistently provided.
8. User Implications
Make sure to key in particulars correctly to avoid an ‘invalid’ status.
For instance, a colleague of mine happened to key in the wrong IC number and ended up receiving an ‘invalid’ message.
To make sure you smooth out the process of getting in and out, always make sure to fill in the required data fields correctly.
9. It’s Not The Only Contact Tracing Measure
According to Channel News Asia, the Government is currently developing a portable and wearable contact tracing device which will “achieve the same objectives” as TraceTogether, but without the need for a smartphone.
Should the device be a success, the roll-out will commence to everyone in Singapore.
After concerns about user privacy were voiced out, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Balakrishnan, took to Facebook to assure citizens that the tracking device will not track an individual’s location.
In fact, those who prefer to use TraceTogether will still be able to do so.
He addresses the aforementioned concern, stating that “It acts as a personal diary, (and) uses Bluetooth proximity data to collate prolonged close contacts.”
The data in the personal device is encrypted and erased automatically after 25 days. Unless the person is infected, the information stays in the device.
He also says that the device was to aid those without smartphones or whose phones could not run the app well.
Additionally, it will be able to communicate with TraceTogether to maximise transmissions.
Dr Balakrishnan also added that the device’s battery should last many months. Hence, it would not be replacing things like EZ-Link or other transport cards.
10. A Little More Fuss On Our End, A Lot More Ease On Their Part
Granted, the SafeEntry system can get a little irritating after a while, especially if you have to visit multiple stores to get what you require.
But in the end, a little fuss on our end translates to a lot more ease on the government’s side. They will be able to collate information with more ease and ascertain the correct measures with more precision.
In the long run, it’s going to work out for both sides.
So let’s trust in the SafeEntry system and go along with it, because in the end…
We’ll need to unite to fight this COVID son of a gun.
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