Singapore—After a report this week saying experts believe the country is not likely to enter Phase 3 of reopening as not enough people are using the TraceTogether token or app, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) announced that the take-up rate is now “more than 60 per cent,” according to TODAY.

In October, the multi-ministry task force assigned to tackle matters related to the pandemic listed three conditions that needed to be met in order for the country to enter phase 3, which are adequate testing capabilities, safe management compliance, and a take-up rate of Trace Together of 70 per cent.

As of  Monday (Dec 7), the said that approximately 2.9 million people had claimed the contact-tracing token or downloaded the app, according to the SNDGG. This put the number of adapters at 50.8 per cent, falling far short of the 70 per cent target.

However, the SNDGG told TODAY on Thursday (Dec 10) that the most recent take-up rate has reached over 60 per cent of the population, and that the 50 per cent mark had actually been passed by last month. SNDGG added that it expects that the TraceTogether token would be collected at “a steady pace” since distribution points at more community centres will open in the weeks to come. 

With the country’s population at around 5.7 million, over half a million people need to start using TraceTogether in order to meet the Government’s target.

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SNDGG told TODAY that a possible reason for the delay in adapting TraceTogether is that some people may believe that SafeEntry is adequate. A spokesman for SNDGG said, “This may stem from a lack of understanding that TraceTogether and SafeEntry are complementary tools that serve different functions, and by using these digital tools together, we can improve the speed and accuracy of contact tracing.”

Some people have said that they prefer the token to the app out of concern that the app would drain the battery, as well as data privacy and security issues. But the spokesman said that the app would only add marginally to the battery usage and that the app and token are “privacy-preserving by design.”

“No GPS (global positioning system) location is collected, and the devices only exchange encrypted and anonymised Bluetooth signals with other TraceTogether devices nearby. “The Bluetooth data is also automatically deleted after 25 days, and the data is only requested by the authorities when a user is confirmed to be a Covid-19-positive case,” the spokesman added. —/TISG

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Read also: Experts say Phase 3 not likely by year-end unless more people use TraceTogether

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