SINGAPORE: Vulnerable seniors who are currently not digitally connected and at higher risk from COVID-19 will receive the first batch of TraceTogether tokens from Sunday (Jun 28).
This is to help extend protection to as many people as possible, including those who may not own or prefer not to use a mobile phone, said Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) in a news release.
In response to CNA's queries, SNDGG said that the recipients will include those who are physically frail, living alone or have poor family support.
The Silver Generation Office will reach out to these seniors through house visits, it said. Details of subsequent distribution will be shared later.
The first version will have an estimated battery life of six to nine months and does not require any charging. It is also designed to be convenient, light and easy to use.
"It can fit easily into a bag or be hung from a lanyard," said SNDGG.
Each TraceTogether token will have a unique QR code and is personalised for the recipient's use only.
The token works by exchanging Bluetooth signals with other TraceTogether tokens or with mobile phones nearby running the TraceTogether app.
The data collected will be encrypted and kept in the token for no more than 25 days, said SNDGG.
The token has no GPS, which means it does not capture geolocation data. It also has no internet or cellular connectivity, so the encrypted data cannot be remotely extracted from the device.
“Preserving and upholding privacy remains our key priority as we continue to improve these digital solutions to meet our needs and circumstances,” said SNDGG.
The user will be alerted by a Ministry of Health (MOH) contact tracing officer if he is detected to be in close contact with someone who was infected with the coronavirus.
If the user is a confirmed COVID-19 patient, officers will also contact him for data download.
All public sector data protection rules apply to information held by MOH and only a small number of authorised personnel will have access to the data for contact tracing purposes, said SNDGG.
Volunteers and staff distributing the tokens during the first distribution exercise will provide simple instructions on how to care for the device, as well as what to do when the token is faulty or misplaced.
Users are also reminded to carry their tokens with them whenever they leave their homes.
READ: COVID-19 contact tracing ‘absolutely essential’; wearable TraceTogether tokens to be rolled out in June
“By increasing the overall pool of participants, every user of the app or Token would benefit by being informed as early as possible, if or when they have been exposed to COVID-19,” said SNDGG.
“It is only with sufficient usage and the relevant data that these digital tools can work effectively.”