Government Responds to Question of When We Can Stop Using TraceTogether & SafeEntry


Although we may not forget our TraceTogether tokens as often as we did when the TraceTogether scheme was first launched, there’s probably a question weighing on everyone’s mind: When will we really go back to normal?

Spoiler alert: Not just yet.

Yup, even though Singapore’s moving into an endemic state, TraceTogether and SafeEntry’s still here to stay for the time being.

And, according to Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary, they’ll be around for the foreseeable future, at least until we no longer have vaccine-differentiated measures implemented in Singapore.

TraceTogether and SafeEntry Help Protect the Unvaccinated

Dr Janil explained to Parliament today (3 March) that the employment of TraceTogether and SafeEntry helps ensure that unvaccinated individuals, who are more likely to develop severe disease, are protected against possible COVID-19 infections.

“We aim to keep rules and requirements simple and we regularly review the need for these. We will continue to rationalise and simplify our safe management measures,” he added.

The Burden of TraceTogether and SafeEntry on Businesses

In the same Parliament sitting, Mr Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party brought up the issue of how the use of TraceTogether and SafeEntry may result in “compliance burdens” for businesses as they need to carry out checks to ensure that individuals have checked into their premises.

He also questioned what kind of benchmarks the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be using when they choose to determine TraceTogether and SafeEntry as no longer compulsory.

In response to this, Dr Janil mentioned that the government has been able to efficiently inform individuals who have been close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases through health risk warnings and notices through the implementation of TraceTogether and SafeEntry.

He also added that this has allowed Singapore to keep our COVID-19 mortality rate low and reduce the speed at which COVID-19 spreads in the community since individuals are able to seek early intervention and carry out self-isolation early on.

Hence, even though TraceTogether and SafeEntry may have been troublesome for businesses, the benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

Too Early To Tell When We Will Stop Using TraceTogether and SafeEntry

He also explained that the government is still unable to determine how exactly they will address the issue of removing TraceTogether and SafeEntry as mandatory parts of our lives and that we still need more time to figure out exactly what type of criteria will be used.

“We need to wait until we’re quite sure that the pandemic and Covid-19 is no longer epidemic but endemic, and we have not reached that point yet,” he remarked.

Dr Janil concluded by saying that although there is still no telling when Singapore will reach the stage of an endemic, TraceTogether and SafeEntry still remain the most uncomplicated, most cost-effective and least troublesome measures for businesses to adopt in order to observe the current measures.

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Dr Janil further supported his stand by quoting a British study that proved that contact tracing is able to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and save lives. He also added that there is “every reason to believe the same is true here in Singapore” as well.

“If we extrapolate (the study) to our situation here, the estimate is that between September 2021 and January 2022, comparing similar data sets over those four or five months, the contact tracing approach that we’ve taken in Singapore may have saved about 290 deaths and slowed down the progression to avoid about 144,000 cases,” he concluded.


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Featured Image: Reddit