, Singapore

MOH to review use of TraceTogether

The MOH no longer uses the app for general public contact tracing.

As Singapore passed the peak of the Omicron wave, the Ministry of Health said it is also reviewing measures such as TraceTogether, SafeEntry, and Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS).

The MOH said the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) will review the relevance and application of TraceTogether as the ministry no longer relies on the app for contact tracing for the general public.

“There is really no need to compare the data between self-reporting and TraceTogether, because having vaccinated the vast majority of our population and being determined to live with COVID-19, we have passed that stage of the pandemic where we contact trace every case,” the MOH said.

However, MOH also underscored that the app is being used by agencies looking after more vulnerable sectors, such as schools or pre-schools.

The ministry said the MTF will decide on standing the app down when it is no longer needed while maintaining the capability to restart it should Singapore encounter a more dangerous variant of concern.

On VDS, the MOH said the measure is still “needed” considering that 3.5% of the country’s adult population is still not fully vaccinated.

“The more cautious and correct course of action now is to keep VDS, and not to risk having more non-fully vaccinated patients getting infected and needing hospital care and adding workload to our healthcare workers,” the MOH said.

With VDS is still needed, MOH said SafeENtry will also be retained as it is the “most convenient way to check the vaccination status of an individual entering a premise.”

Meanwhile, the easing of distancing rules in food and business (F&B) establishments from 1m to 80cm is among measures that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will review once cases in Singapore have subsided further.

“The whole MTF (Multi-Ministry Taskforce)  is aware, that 1m versus 80cm makes a huge difference to the F&B establishments. It also makes a huge difference in terms of transmission, so we have to weigh the costs and benefits,” the MOH said in response to queries of several embers of the Parliament.

The government has earlier made relaxations on its Safe Management Measures (SMMs), particularly on travel.

MOH, however, warned that the easing was not in any way a declaration of “Freedom Day” nor a declaration that the pandemic is over.

The minister added that the relaxation of some SMMs was deemed appropriate since MTF believes that Singapore would be able to ride through without any major changes in its public health posture from the expected uptick in daily cases following the easing of measures.

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