TraceTogether: A COVID-19 Contact Tracing App
News • March 23, 2020
Aperson who has been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 has a higher chance of being infected. When the person exposed can be identified through contact tracing, he or she can get adequate care and treatment.
Identifying those who have been exposed involves interviewing the person infected. The person infected recounts their movements and all the people they have been in contact with before and after testing positive for COVID-19.
Hence, to assist and supplement the current contact tracing efforts, Government Technology Agency (GovTech), has collaborated with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to develop a mobile app called TraceTogether.
What is TraceTogether?
TraceTogether is an app that is designed to supplement current contact tracing efforts. It uses Bluetooth signals to determine if you are near another TraceTogether user. Your Bluetooth proximity data is encrypted and stored only on your phone. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will seek your consent to upload the data, if it’s needed for contact tracing.
“This enables users to take the necessary action sooner, such as monitoring his own health closely for signs of flu-like symptoms. Early detection could potentially help reduce the risk of the spread of the virus, and better protect our families and loved ones.”
The new app will not replace ongoing contact tracing efforts, but it will facilitate the process, enabling contact tracers to inform users who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases “more quickly”.
“The process of contact tracing starts with a recall … and that is the only thing that this app intervenes with. It means that poor memory will no longer slow down the process of contact tracing.”
“The faster the contact tracing process can be initiated and can identify the people at risk, the faster we can intervene and impose quarantine if necessary and limit spread locally.”
– Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister-in-charge of GovTech
What makes the app great?
- The application is simple and easy-to-use. Simply download the app, grant the app permission to log data and turn on your Bluetooth.
- The mobile app uses Bluetooth signals to determine if you are near another TraceTogether user. No location data is collected.
- The data logged by the app remains encrypted in the mobile device where it is installed at all times. Only those who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to share the data logged to speed up contact tracing.
- The app supports healthcare workers and contact tracers. When you use the app, you’ll be part of a larger community committed to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
- TraceTogether is voluntary. Users opt-in and can withdraw their consent at any time. The app’s functionality is active only during outbreaks and when contact tracing is a critical part of stopping the spread.
How to use it?
- Step 1: Download the TraceTogether app from iOS App Store or Google Play Store or to go www.tracetogether.gov.sg.
- Step 2: Enter their Singapore-registered mobile number for verification. Note that the app does not collect any other personal information like the user’s name or NRIC.
- Step 3: Provide consent to register their numbers with TraceTogether and consent to also share them with MOH if users are identified as either a confirmed Covid-19 case, or a close contact of a known case.
- Step 4: Turn on Bluetooth and enable the necessary permissions for TraceTogether to function. Keep push notifications turned on, so that users can be notified when their Bluetooth is switched off unintentionally.
A few words
TraceTogether app is genius and can actually solve COVID19 Spread. Please download and encourage your friends and family members to do so too!. It will only take a small amount of time, it is safe, secure, reliable, and can save your life and ours.
The faster the contact tracing process is, the quicker we can identify the people at risk. This means we’ll be more effective in reducing the risk of local transmission.
After all, combating the spread of COVID-19 is a communal effort.