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Digital app mandatory for entering Singapore churches

Archdiocese steps up efforts to ensure churchgoers are safe from the Covid-19 pandemic

UCA News reporter, Singapore

UCA News reporter, Singapore

Published: May 14, 2021 07:55 AM GMT

Updated: May 14, 2021 08:25 AM GMT

Digital app mandatory for entering Singapore churches

Singapore Archdiocese has about 360,000 Catholics in 32 parishes. (Photo supplied)

Singapore Archdiocese has made the use of a government-mandated digital app compulsory for entering churches to accelerate contact tracing to curb the spread of Covid-19.

With effect from May 17, only the TraceTogether token or app will be accepted for entry into churches and the SafeEntry app or Singpass will no longer be used, the communication office of Singapore Archdiocese announced on May 14.

The notice is the latest to Catholics in the city-state as part of efforts to tackle the pandemic.

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Churches in Singapore suspended services when the pandemic hit the nation in early February and the government imposed restrictions including a ban on public movement and gatherings.

The Church resumed services in mid-March on a limited scale with precautionary measures such as the installation of thermal scanners and thermometers for temperature screening in parishes.

Churches have been cleaned more frequently and the sharing of common items has been reduced alongside a continuous awareness campaign on personal hygiene.

TraceTogether is a digital system the Singapore government implemented to facilitate community-driven contact tracing

Churchgoers were also strongly advised to wear masks at all times, avoid touching faces, pray at designated locations, not to sing, sanitize hands regularly, not to share prayer items, use non-contact greeting methods and to stay home even if feeling only mildly unwell.

Catholics had to register with the MyCatholic.Sg site and have a confirmed slot for Mass to enter churches.

Churches also used SafeEntry and Singpass, two official national digital identification systems, to ensure the safety of churchgoers. 

Singapore had recorded 61,453 coronavirus cases and 31 deaths as of May 13. A total of 61,029 have recovered, 150 are still in hospital and 243 are in isolation, according to government data.

On April 22, Singapore’s government announced that any place where people are likely to be close to each other must use the TraceTogether app without any exceptions.

These places include shopping malls, workplaces, places of worship, schools, educational institutions, restaurants and gyms.

TraceTogether is a digital system the Singapore government implemented to facilitate community-driven contact tracing. The main goal is quick identification of persons who may have come into close contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The app notifies a person quickly if he or she has been exposed to Covid-19 through close contact with other users. It also seeks to allow Singapore’s Ministry of Health to provide timely care and guidance to those infected and those around them.

Bluetooth data is stored securely on the user’s phone. It is shared with the ministry if the person tests positive. All Bluetooth data stored on the phone is automatically deleted after 25 days.

About 90 percent of Singapore’s population has either downloaded the app or collected an e-token.

Singapore has a Buddhist-majority population of about 5.8 million where Christians make up about 15 percent. There are about 360,000 Catholics in 32 parishes in Singapore Archdiocese that covers the entire city-state.

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