Singapore will soon roll out a portable wearable device. File photo
Singapore plans to soon launch a wearable device for novel coronavirus contact tracing that, if successful, it will distribute to all of its 5.7 million residents, the government said on Friday.
The city-state has already developed the first-of-its-kind smartphone app to identify and alert people who have interacted with novel coronavirus carriers, but the bluetooth technology has been beset with glitches and the app is not widely used.
"We are developing and will soon roll out a portable wearable device that will... not depend on possession of a smartphone," foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan told parliament on Friday.
"If this portable device works. We may then distribute it to everyone in Singapore... This will be more inclusive, and it will ensure that all of us will be protected."
The device being developed can be worn on a lanyard or kept in a handbag and will be battery-operated, Balakrishnan said last month in an interview with Sky News Australia.Reuters
World Health Organisation Director Dr Tedros Adhanom is the focus of attention as the 2019 novel coronavirus advances across the globe. He has been criticised by some health professionals
The Southeast Asian nation is among the world's most open economies and seen as a gauge of the health of the global trade. Last week, it posted a sharp decline in first quarter gross domestic product and slashed growth projections.
The announcement brings the country's tally of confirmed virus cases up to 289, according to ministry's spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad. In addition, 216 virus patients are still receiving necessary treatment, while 13 others are in intensive care units.
A total of 75,538 deaths have been recorded, including 53,928 in Europe, the continent worst hit by the virus. The official tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of cases. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
UAE leaders congratulate President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow on the occasion.
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