Singapore is in the midst of distributing tokens meant for contact tracing to all residents. These Bluetooth contact tracing tokens can either be carried around or worn on a lanyard. The tokens are a physical version of the existing app that was introduced in March.
The tokens use Bluetooth to detect other users devices and then records the contact with those devices. The government believes the physical tokens could be an alternative that is more popular with the older population who do not use smartphones.
The tokens will also provide better protection by providing better tracing in a higher risk setting, such as hotels, theatres and gyms. This will enable the further reopening of the economy in a safe way.
The government plans to introduce the tokens initially to neighbourhoods where there is a higher concentration of older people. This is because the elderly are both at a higher health risk and are less likely to own a smartphone.
Residents currently use the contact tracing app to check in to places using the safeentry system. This app uses QR codes to record the users’ presence at a certain place. Residents have expressed interest in the physical tokens as opposed to the app as they feel like it’s a better option for privacy. This makes it impossible for location data or other sensors to turn on without the user’s knowledge.
Internationally, Singapore was the first to introduce an app for contact tracing earlier in March. The Ministry of health said the contact tracing app has reduced the time taken to detect and quarantine close contacts of positive cases into half.