Govt developing Covid-19 contact tracing tokens for those without smartphones

Malaysia will soon give out contact tracing tokens to individuals who do not own smartphones, especially the elderly, to help track and contain the spread of Covid-19.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the concept was similar to the tokens introduced by Singapore last year.

“Those without smartphones can write their details in the book and carry their vaccination cards,” said Khairy in the Dewan Rakyat today.

“In Singapore, they give out tokens. The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry is developing a similar token system where the tokens can be given out to those without smartphones.

“It will be based on the Bluetooth close proximity system.”

The TraceTogether token in Singapore uses Bluetooth technology. It exchanges signals with other tokens or smartphone devices running the TraceTogether mobile application.

The token will then encrypt the data of the devices near it and store the information for up to 25 days before deleting it.

The Singapore government said the tokens do not record the user’s location, but rather who has come into contact with the user.

Personal details, namely the user’s name, mobile number and identification number are stored in a separate system.

On a side note, Khairy said interstate travel alone did not contribute to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, yesterday said tourism centres and interstate travel would be opened once 90 per cent of adults in the country had been vaccinated.

“Interstate travel, on its own, does not contribute to the increase in the number of cases. It’s the concentration of people that takes place that causes the spike in cases.

“We will have to look at the public health measures.

“Lifting the borders alone is not the issue. Mobility is not the issue.”

Khairy added that the government was looking at the results of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine trials for children aged between five and 11.

The two firms recently said the trials had produced “positive results”, showing a “robust immune response”. They added that the results would “provide a strong foundation” to seek approval for the vaccine to be used globally.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights.

CIRCUIT-BREAKER SIMILAR TO SINGAPORE BEING MULLED

Malaysia may implement circuit-breaker measures to curb Covid-19 as the nation transitions into the endemic phase.

The measure, similar to that of Singapore’s, is being mulled by the Health Ministry to ensure there are containment measures in place if a particular area records a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the containment measures, once finalised, would be implemented over a short period to ensure that socio-economic activities and people’s mental health were not affected.

“We want to avoid a full-scale lockdown or movement restriction across the country, but there must be a quick circuit-breaker to stop the outbreak of infection,” he said in his winding-up speech on the motion of thanks to the Royal Address in Parliament.

56 POLITICIANS NABBED FOR BREACHING MCO SOPs

A total of 56 politicians were arrested for violating the Movement Control Order (MCO) standard operating procedures between March 18, 2020, and Aug 25, this year.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin told the Dewan Rakyat today that of that number, 22 were issued fines, 25 were still being investigated, one charged in court, and eight other cases were classified as ‘No Further Action’.

Hamzah said this in a written reply to Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Independent-Muar).

GOVT TO DISCUSS RULING ON GRANTING CITIZENSHIP TO CHILDREN BORN OVERSEAS TO MALAYSIAN MUMS

Putrajaya will discuss its decision of applying a stay of execution on the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s Sept 9 ruling, allowing children born abroad to Malaysian mothers, to be granted citizenship.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun would also attend the meeting.

This morning, Saifuddin received a petition and an open letter from a family support group – Family Frontiers – outside Parliament.

In its petition, Family Frontiers urged the government to withdraw its appeal against the High Court decision.

On Wednesday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the government was planning to amend the Federal Constitution to allow all children born abroad to Malaysian mothers, to be granted citizenship.

Hamzah, however, said the amendment would first have to be approved by the Council of Malay Rulers. Hamzah said the government had applied for a stay of execution and had appealed the High Court’s decision while waiting for the Constitution to be amended.

A SAFE SPACE TO TALK OPENLY ABOUT SUICIDE

Malaysia’s first multidisciplinary symposium on suicide prevention, which aims to create a safe space to openly talk about suicide, will take place this Saturday.

Aimed at reducing suicide deaths and dealing with despair at home, in workplaces, schools, and communities, the online symposium aims to bring together experts, including educators, academicians, lawyers, mental health and social work professionals, medical doctors, and therapists.

Entitled ‘Suicide: The Silent Pandemic’, the event hopes to gather those concerned about the increasing number of suicides and suicide attempts in the country, and want to help prevent it.

The symposium is from 1pm-7pm and is open to the public. Registration fee is RM50. For details, visit https://silentpandemic.netlify.app/