Travellers to Singapore must wear monitoring device if serving SHN at home

ALL incoming travellers serving their stay-home notice (SHN) outside of dedicated facilities must soon wear an electronic monitoring device, Singapore authorities announced on Monday.

From Aug 10, 11.59pm, these travellers - including returning residents, long-term pass holders, work pass holders and their dependents - will need to don the device throughout the 14-day SHN. Those aged 12 and below will be exempted from this requirement.

Long-term pass holders include student's pass holders, while work pass holders comprise existing holders who are out of Singapore as well as in-principle approval holders who have yet to enter the Republic.

The additional measure is meant to "enhance compliance with the SHN regime and thereby reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 by incoming travellers to the local community", said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Education (MOE) in a joint press statement.

Since March 21, all incoming travellers are required to go through a 14-day SHN upon entering Singapore.

They serve their SHN either at their place of residence or at the dedicated facilities, and are tested for the novel coronavirus at designated community-testing facilities before the end of the SHN period.

ICA, MOM and MOE said they have been monitoring SHN compliance with a combination of manual and automated text messages and phone or video calls, as well as physical house visits.

"Strict enforcement action is taken against those who breach the SHN requirements," they added.

As travel restrictions are progressively lifted, the use of wearable electronic monitoring devices will enable ICA, MOM and MOE to monitor those serving SHN at their place of residence more effectively. However, students on SHN residing in hostels in educational institutions are excluded, as they would be under close observation.

On arrival in the country, travellers serving their SHN at their place of residence will receive the device at the checkpoints, after immigration clearance. They will need to activate it once they reach their place of residence.

During the 14-day period, persons wearing the device may receive notifications and must acknowledge them in a timely manner. 

Any attempt to leave the place of residence or tamper with the device will trigger an alert to the authorities, except when the person is leaving for an appointment for the Covid-19 test. Persons who tamper and/or remove the device during the period will be liable to prosecution.

The device uses GPS and 4G or Bluetooth signals to determine if persons on SHN are within the range of their place of residence. It does not store any personal data and does not have any voice or video-recording function. 

Data transmitted to the authorities' backed system is protected by end-to-end certificate-based encryption, and only authorised government officials will have access to the data for the purposes of monitoring and investigation.

Singapore is now seen as confronting its third wave of imported Covid-19 cases, with more than a hundred such cases over the past month, The Straits Times reported last week.