Singapore launched a smartphone app on Friday that will help authorities trace people those who have had contact or got exposed to people infected with the deadly coronavirus. The smartphone app has been launched with the aim of containing the spread of the virus that has so far claimed more than 10,000 lives globally.
The coronavirus pandemic has posed at major threat to government across the world as most countries have so far failed to contain the spread of the virus. This has seen most government taking help of technology and is seeking active support from citizens to help fight the deadly virus.
Singapore government takes help of technology
The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), the in-house IT agency of Singapore's public service, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) launched the smartphone app TraceTogether on Friday. The app will work on Bluetooth support, wherein users can exchange short distance Bluetooth signals to trace other participating users in the proximity of two meters.
The app can be downloaded by anyone with a Singapore mobile number and a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. With the launch of the app, GovTech has appealed to citizens "proactively help" in the contact tracing process. The app has been developed over the past eight weeks and is certainly a major step towards making an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
How does the app work?
Users will first have to download the app. Once users download the app and agree to use it, they will be required to turn on their Bluetooth, as well as enable push notifications and location permissions. The app will store the records of each of the encounter locally but not send it to the authorities.
When the health ministry asks for the records, the users will be required to share the logs, as the ministry won't be otherwise having the knowledge of the data, according to a joint statement. However, f they refuse, they may be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act. Per the current MOH guidelines close proximity means two meters apart, or up to five minutes, for 30 minutes.
Singapore has been making quite fast progress compared to many countries in its fight towards containing the spread of the virus. It has also included using police investigators and security cameras to help detect suspect carriers. The app will be suspended once the pandemic ends, per a description in the Apple App Store.