Singapore

Travellers to Singapore must wear tracking device while on SHN

New measure starts from 11.59pm next Monday

With more people expected to stream into Singapore as borders gradually reopen, the authorities are using technology to make sure the likelihood of them spreading Covid-19 to the community is kept to the minimum.

Key to this are new wearable monitoring devices to ensure those entering stay at home as mandated.

All travellers entering from 11.59pm next Monday and serving their stay-home notice (SHN) outside of dedicated facilities must wear such devices, which will alert the authorities if they leave their homes.

The devices resemble wristwatches and come equipped with Bluetooth or GPSGlobal Positioning System technology, and must be worn throughout the stay-home period. The measure will affect citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, work pass holders and their dependants. Children aged 12 and younger are exempted.

In a joint statement yesterday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the Manpower and Education ministries said the devices will complement existing ways of ensuring SHN rules are observed.

Travellers will be issued the devices at the checkpoints after clearing immigration. They will then need to activate it and register on a mobile app once they reach their place of residence.

Notifications may be sent through this app and should be acknowledged in a timely manner, said the authorities. If the device is not activated, the authorities will contact the traveller and provide support or take enforcement action as needed.

TRIGGER AN ALERT

Attempts to leave the place of residence or tamper with the device will trigger an alert to the authorities. They will investigate, unless the person is leaving their residence for a Covid-19 test, by appointment.

After the SHN period, the device can be deactivated and thrown away or returned.

Those who tamper with or remove the device can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both. No data is stored in the devices, and any data sent to the authorities is protected by end-to-end certificate-based encryption.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Tan Hoe Koon, deputy director of ICA's intelligence division, said the device will help the SHN regime remain effective and sustainable.

"With the number of people on SHN going up, we do not have unlimited resources to keep up with alternate-day visits," he told reporters at a media conference yesterday.

With the device, officers will visit those on SHN once, shortly after they enter Singapore and thereafter only when there are issues, he said.

Asked why it was not introduced earlier, DAC Tan said: "The moment we realised the (pandemic) is not a short sprint... we began exploring a solution that could sustain us to maintain this regime for the long term."

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