COVID-19: More than 450,000 contact-tracing devices to be distributed to migrant and local workers


SINGAPORE: More than 450,000 contact-tracing devices will be distributed to all migrant and local workers living or working in dormitories, as well those at worksites in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors, said the authorities on Friday (Oct 16). 

These tokens, if carried by workers at all times, will help minimise work disruptions in the event of positive COVID-19 cases being identified because only close contacts will be isolated, said the authorities.  

The devices will be distributed in phases from Oct 18, and is expected to be completed by early November, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a joint statement with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Economic Development Board (EDB).

The devices, known as BluePass tokens, will be distributed by the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group, in partnership with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, BCA, EDB and industry partners such as the Singapore Contractors Association.

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The tokens are purpose-built for the dormitory and worksite environment – compact, water-resistant and can be worn at all times, said the authorities.

“They will be interoperable with and complement the use of the TraceTogether app on migrant workers’ smartphones, as some workers may not always be carrying their phones at work and at the dormitories,” they said. 

The device can be worn on the workers’ wrists like a watch so that it will not obstruct their work.

The BluePass tokens will also retrieve close-contact data that will be sent to the health ministry when a COVID-19 positive case is detected.

The token only collects close-contact data from other devices, and the data is encrypted with no personal identifiable information stored, said the authorities.

The ACE Group and sector agencies will trial and evaluate how the tokens function and perform in the work environments, as well as how the data from the tokens can help improve contact tracing and the quarantine process when new COVID-19 cases are detected.

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“This will benefit employers and workers because only close contacts will be isolated, thereby minimising any work disruptions,” said the authorities.

Data can also be taken from the tokens to assess the extent of intermixing among workers, which can help employers and workers better understand how preventive measures can be taken to minimise intermixing and potential COVID-19 transmission.

DEVICES TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN DORMITORIES AND SCREENING CENTRES

Employers in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors or those with workers residing in dormitories do not need to pay for the devices in the first year, authorities said.

MOM is also evaluating the cost for future deployment.

The devices will be distributed with the support of the Forward Assurance and Support Teams (FAST) to migrant workers living in purpose-built dormitories. Those living in other types of accommodations will be issued their devices at regional screening centres for rostered routine tests. 

Self-collection points will also be set up for workers residing in decant sites and other types of accommodation. Employers and workers will be informed of the collection dates later, said the authorities.

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