Singapore to tag 450,000 workers for Covid track and trace

The government of Singapore has begun distributing 450,000 contact-tracing tags to all construction, shipyard and process industry workers in a bid to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

Workers strap the water-resistant tag onto their wrists with velcro so it can identify everybody with whom a worker has come into close contact.

If a worker tests positive for the disease, instances of close contact with others are sent to the Ministry of Health.

The tag collects close-contact data from other devices, as well, and works with Singapore’s TraceTogether app on workers’ smartphones.

The data on the tag is encrypted to protect personal information.

"This will benefit employers and workers because only close contacts will be isolated, thereby minimising any work disruptions," said the Ministry of Manpower in a joint statement with the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and and other bodies involved in the initiative.

Data extracted from the tags will be used to assess the extent of intermixing among workers.

"This can help employers and workers better understand how preventive measures can be taken to minimise intermixing and potential transmission of the virus," the statement said.

Tag distribution started on 18 October and is expected to be finished by early November.

Construction employers don’t have to pay for the tags in the first year of the scheme, although the ministry is evaluating how it will be paid for in the future.

Image: Foreign construction workers collect meals for their roommates during lockdown in May (From the Facebook page of Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority)

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