COVID-19: Monitoring devices for those serving SHNs outside of dedicated facilities from 10 Aug

Government Technology Agency (GovTech) staff demonstrate Singapore's new contact-tracing smarthphone app called TraceTogether, as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore on March 20, 2020. - The mobile app using Bluetooth technology developed by GovTech in collaboration with the Ministry of Health informs user who had close contacts to confirmed coronavirus cases was launched in Singapore on 20. (Photo by Catherine LAI / AFP) (Photo by CATHERINE LAI/AFP via Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO: Catherine LaiAFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — From 10 August, all incoming travellers to Singapore who are serving their Stay-Home Notices (SHNs) outside of dedicated facilities will need to don an electronic monitoring device throughout the 14-day period.

In a joint media release on 3 August (Monday), the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Education (MOE) said that with the progressive lifting of travel restrictions, the use of wearable electronic monitoring devices will enable them to monitor those serving SHN at their places of residence more effectively.

This new measure applies to all incoming Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders (including student’s pass holders), work pass holders and their dependants.

Those aged 12 and below will be exempted from this requirement. Students on SHN residing in hostels in educational institutions are also excluded, as they would be under close observation.

Device will trigger if traveller leaves place of residence

Since 21 March, all incoming travellers have to serve a 14-day SHN upon entering Singapore. They serve their SHN either at their place of residence or at dedicated facilities, and are tested for COVID-19 at designated community testing facilities before the end of their SHN period.

On arrival in Singapore from 10 August onwards, travellers serving their SHN at their place of residence will be issued with an electronic monitoring device at the checkpoints, after immigration clearance.

They will need to activate the electronic monitoring device upon reaching their place of residence. If the device is not activated as required, the authorities will follow up to determine their location, and assist to resolve any technical difficulties, or take enforcement action if needed.

During the 14-day period, persons wearing these devices may receive notifications on these devices and need to acknowledge them in a timely manner.

Any attempt to leave the place of residence or tamper with the electronic device will trigger an alert to the authorities, who will conduct follow-up investigations, except when the person is leaving his/her place of residence for his/her appointment for the COVID-19 test.

After serving their SHN, they need to deactivate the device and dispose of or return it in accordance with the instructions.

“The devices use GPS (global positioning system) and 4G/Bluetooth signals to determine if persons on SHN are within the range of their place of residence,” the joint media release said.

“The devices do not store any personal data and do not have any voice/video recording function. Data transmitted from the devices to the authorities’ backend system, such as the GPS and 4G/Bluetooth signal data, is protected by end-to-end certificate-based encryption.

“The authorities will abide strictly by public sector data protection rules in managing and protecting personal data collected by these devices, which includes the recommendations of the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee. Only government officials authorised by the respective authorities will have access to the data for the purposes of monitoring and investigation.”

Liable to be charged if found tampering with device

Previously, ICA, MOM and MOE have been monitoring SHN compliance via a combination of manual and automated text messages and phone/video calls, and physical house visits.

The authorities said that those who fail to comply with SHN requirements, including those who tamper and/or remove the electronic monitoring device during the SHN period, will be liable to be charged under the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 – Stay Orders) Regulations 2020.

The penalty may be a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months. For foreigners, ICA/MOM may take further administrative actions, such as revoking, or shortening the validity of permits and passes to remain/work in Singapore.

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