Singapore plans to introduce wearable devices to track contacts

All residents of Singapore – 5.7 million people – are planned to be equipped with wearable devices that will identify people in contact with carriers of the coronavirus. This may be one of the most comprehensive contact tracing projects.

A small device that can be worn on a cord or in a purse will replace a malfunctioning system based on smartphones and Bluetooth.

The city-state with a high population density was one of the leaders in the incidence of COVID-19 in Asia. He hopes to find a way to ease the constraints of curbing the spread of the coronavirus and restarting its economy.

“We are developing and will soon release a portable wearable device that … will not depend on the availability of a smartphone,” said Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is responsible for the initiative described.

It is not yet clear whether the wearing of the device will be mandatory.

The TraceTogether smartphone application mentioned above has been downloaded by approximately 1.5 million users, but it does not work reliably, especially on Apple devices, where the operating system pauses Bluetooth scanning when the application is running in the background.

“We have repeatedly discussed this issue with Apple both at the technical and political levels, but so far we have not been able to find a satisfactory solution,” Balakrishnan said.

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