Like it or not, it appears the practice is likely to continue for the near future.
On Thursday (3 Mar), Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said such apps will likely be in place till vaccine-differentiated safety measures (VDS) are no longer needed.
Dr Janil also shared that such systems allow the authorities to issue health risk warnings (HRWs) and notices (HRNs) quickly, which play a key role in keeping fatalities low and ringfencing the coronavirus spread.
Responding to questions by MP Leon Perera, Dr Janil said on Thursday (3 Mar) that TraceTogether and SafeEntry will remain until Covid-19 is “no longer epidemic“.
While such a description might seem rather abstract, Dr Janil said another criterion to look out for would be when Singapore no longer needs VDS.
Sadly, Singapore hasn’t reached such a milestone in our war against Covid-19.
At this point, Dr Janil said “it is still too early” to tell when the authorities can phase the systems out.
Dr Janil took the opportunity to remind the public of the important roles both systems play.
Apart from enabling verification checks at venues with VDS, they also allow the authorities to issue HRWs and HRNs in a timely manner.
In turn, this helps to ringfence the spread of Covid-19 and keep our fatalities low.
Citing a UK study, Dr Janil said that automated contact tracing has proven to save lives and curb Covid-19 infections.
He added that there is “every reason to believe” that such a phenomenon is true here in Singapore, reports The Straits Times.
Extrapolating the results, Dr Janil estimated that our nation’s contact tracing efforts between Sep 2021 and Jan 2022 have saved about 290 lives and prevented about 144,000 infections.
Conceding that there are costs to implementing such systems, he said these are neither unique nor exclusive to TraceTogether and SafeEntry.
However, he stressed that Singaporeans ought to be evaluating the systems through their “worth” instead.
Even though such systems come with their some inconveniences, we hope residents can understand the key role they play from a public health perspective.
While we can only imagine the effects that their absence would bring, those are risks that we cannot afford to take yet.
For now, we hope residents will bear with these inconveniences and work with the authorities to see through the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Featured image by MS News.
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