Youths react to the possible standing-down of TraceTogether
According to Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, SafeEntry is currently still necessary to avoid increasing the workload of hospitals.
The Multi Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has discussed the possible standing-down of TraceTogether in the near future, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament on Monday (Apr 4).
TraceTogether will be reviewed on a situational basis in a move to further ease current COVID-19 measures — with a possibility of it standing down when no longer necessary, while maintaining the capability to restart its usage in the event of a more dangerous variant spreading.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) currently no longer relies on TraceTogether for contact tracing of the general public due to Singapore’s high vaccination rate. Cases who self-test positive do not have to upload their TraceTogether data, and instead are expected to responsibly inform their close contacts to self-monitor.
However, Mr Ong did highlight the current necessity of SafeEntry and vaccination-differentiated safe management measures.
We spoke to seven youths to hear their thoughts on stopping the use of TraceTogether.
In line with relaxing other measures
“I think that TraceTogether being removed from malls and high density areas is a good initiative. Overall, as the pandemic winds down, it’s good to see that we can return to a greater level of normalcy.
“To be frank, since the Government announced Singapore’s endemic state, I don’t think TraceTogether has been utilised enough for it to be of real use. And the Omicron variant seems of low enough concern to warrant the more relaxed measures.
“I also do appreciate not having to stress about being marooned in the middle of nowhere if my phone dies!” – Joshua Khaw, 23, Student
Exercising social responsibility with TraceTogether
“The virus is still spreading and many people are still getting affected by it. The TraceTogether app has greatly helped the Government in tracking those who are in close contact with people who are infected. For the sake of vulnerable groups such as elderly and young children, I am not in favour of its removal.
“It would definitely make entering malls and other public spaces easier for me because I do not have to check in and out. However, there would be many cons that would follow as I would not be notified by the Government if let’s say I came into close contact with an infected individual. This would make me very worried.
“We as citizens still have to be responsible and continue being wary in order to reduce the strain on our healthcare workers.” – Nnurul Shakinah, 19, Student
Greater convenience without TraceTogether
“Not having to pull out my phone to check into places will be a lot more convenient, especially since I don’t use the TraceTogether token at all.
“Sometimes, my phone runs out of battery so I can’t check into a place which is really troublesome, so I think getting rid of it is something that I am looking forward to. It also means that I won’t have to queue up as long to enter malls which is a huge bonus, especially at places like ION Orchard.” – Ernest Cheng, 18, Student
Standing in favour of TraceTogether
“Honestly, I’m not sure if it is too early to get rid of TraceTogether. I think the close contact feature in TraceTogether is really quite useful, especially since it notifies you rather quickly when you have come across someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, TraceTogether provides the function to check for possible exposures too and I think that’s pretty neat.
“Also, I think it’s nice that I can keep track of the locations that I’ve been to and what time I went since there is a record of the history on the application.” – Amala Mathivanan, 20, Student
Never saw the effectiveness of TraceTogether
“I am more in favour of TraceTogether’s removal, as I find TraceTogether too close for comfort when it comes to the infringement of my digital privacy.
“Furthermore, it is not effectively used as not many people would ensure that they check out of the area after physically leaving. Hence, there are numerous instances where there could be a confusing overlap in the timings of an infected case which will negate the use of the application in the first place — to provide us with an accurate window of when we are exposed to a COVID-19 case to react accordingly.” – Melvin Chin, 22, Student
Privacy concerns regarding TraceTogether
“In a moral context, I feel that the app is a breach of privacy. By having it installed in our phones, it makes people feel as if they are being tracked all the time. This causes a lot of unnecessary fear and worries within society.” – Aravindas Pillay, 28, Safety Coordinator
Concerned about the safety without TraceTogether, but hopeful for the future
“Honestly, I was slightly upset when I saw the news that it might be removed as TraceTogether became a routine for me and my family. When we are at the entrance of a mall or shop, it has been instilled in us that using TraceTogether protects not only us but also the people around us.
“My aunt is a frontline worker and I see the stress she is facing. Hence, I want to do everything in my power to make things easier for her.
“As we move to an endemic status, one other change I hope the Government can implement is to encourage schools to resume overseas learning trips. Schools should trust the current situation and not hold back from sending their students abroad, as this is the new normal. Us students have really been missing all these key experiences in our lives due to COVID-19.” – Natalie Koh, 19, Student
Written by Shannon Kuan, Aung Nyi Htet, Harshiyne Maran