SINGAPORE, June 19 — With more transmissible coronavirus strains lurking in the wider community, the authorities will require those who have visited hot spots on the same days as infected people to undergo compulsory testing and stay isolated until they get their results.

Separately, in the next few weeks, the government will roll out SafeEntry Gateway “check-out boxes” at crowded places, such as shopping centres, and those where people come into prolonged maskless contact with one another, such as eateries. 

This is to pave the way for visitors to check out of these places.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced these two measures yesterday (June 18), adding that the authorities would use data from the TraceTogether and SafeEntry contact-tracing tools to better ring-fence cases to prevent large clusters from erupting. 

MoH will send health alerts via SMS (short message service) to people who have visited hot spots on the same day as infected individuals, since they may have been exposed to the virus. 

These people must take a Covid-19 test at designated testing centres and isolate themselves until they get their results. 

“While the risk of infection is lower if they were to test negative, they should continue to limit their interactions with others as an added precaution and restrict their activities to only those which are essential,” MoH said.

At testing centres, they will be given self-test kits, which they will have to administer at home in the days that follow to confirm that they are not infected. 

Those who cannot work from home and need to go to work will be allowed to do so, but they must strictly follow precautions against Covid-19 at the workplace.

“We will need all Singaporeans to play their part. Further details will be announced when ready,” MoH said, adding that this move will give the country greater confidence to resume more activities while curbing transmission.

Check-out points

In the coming weeks, the SafeEntry Gateway check-out scanning boxes will be rolled out progressively, after feedback from members of the public who want to check out of places that they visit but cannot do so right now. 

This move, MoH said, will also allow more precise contact tracing.

The boxes will be deployed at crowded places such as malls, hospitals and polyclinics and venues where people are likely to be in prolonged close contact without their masks on, including eateries and gyms. 

Eligible businesses will be notified and will get the boxes in the coming weeks.

MoH said: “Members of the public are encouraged to perform SafeEntry check-out when leaving the premises as far as possible. 

“This information will support the contact-tracing process by providing more details for the identification of close contacts.” ― TODAY