Health Experts Say Phase 3 May Not Happen Until TraceTogether Usage Increases
Singaporeans have been awaiting Phase 3 of safe reopening for quite some time now. However, the government previously set goals to meet before we transition to the next step.
Reaching 70% TraceTogether uptake is one of them, according to Education Minister Lawrence Wong in Oct.
Unfortunately, The Straits Times (ST) reports that app and token adoption has only reached 50.8%, far from the original goal.
Based on these statistics, experts reportedly doubt that Phase 3 can happen in Dec 2020.
Low likelihood of Phase 3 happening in Dec
According to ST, The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) said 50.8% of Singapore population, or 2.9 million people, have downloaded the app or collected tokens.
While the number is quite significant, this is still 19.2% away from the 70% target.
Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of NUS’ School of Public Health, told ST that more effective contact tracing will counter relaxation in rules. However, since TraceTogether uptake goals have not been reached, Phase 3 may be held back.
Professor Teo Yik Kang, dean of the school, added that token distribution has not covered the entire population yet.
This happens as Singapore plans to move away from SafeEntry by end Dec, opting for TraceTogether usage.
Many Singaporeans still waiting for token
The TraceTogether requirement isn’t new to Singaporeans, many of whom have seemingly been trying their best to adopt the contact tracing method.
However, netizens have noted that some constituencies have seen delays in TraceTogether token distribution.
It seems that quite a number of Singaporeans may prefer the use of tokens for various reasons but have yet to receive them.
One netizen commenting on ST’s post said that token distribution has not started in her constituency.
Another proposed that TraceTogether uptake could be expedited by delivering the tokens straight to homes instead of having residents to queue at collection points.
In a reply, a netizen said queues for tokens can be rather long and may put off others.
Some of them recommend the free mask distribution method as a more effective way to increase TraceTogether uptake.
As it appears that netizens have many useful comments and suggestions to help speed up the process, we hope that the authorities will take them into consideration.
Close cooperation is key
In order to facilitate the transition to TraceTogether and eventually Phase 3, the general public and the authorities thus have to cooperate closely.
On top of this, we must remember not to flout Safe Management Measures as they are also a requirement which will carry forward to the next step of our reopening.
Let’s hope that we’ll be able to take the next big step safely, and keep our good progress going.
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Featured image adapted from MS News.