A contact-tracing app in Singapore that is a key part of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has helped to reduce the time taken to isolate contacts of a patient from four days to less than two, according to an engineer heading the project. The TraceTogether program, which includes a mobile app and token, now covers 3.4 million users, about 60 per cent of Singapore’s population, according to Jason Bay, the senior director who leads the project team at the Government Technology Agency. While TraceTogether does not generate as comprehensive a set of contacts as manual tracing, more than 10 per cent of contacts identified turned positive during quarantine, showing the technology’s potential, Bay said at a conference. Singapore ‘cruise to nowhere’ returns after coronavirus case aboard Singapore has managed to bring the virus under control in recent months following strict measures, including an initial lockdown, requiring mask-wearing, and leaning on technology to assist in contract-tracing. Reflecting that success, the World Economic Forum said this week it will hold its 2021 annual meeting in the country instead of its traditional home of Switzerland. “When we set out to build TraceTogether, we saw an opportunity to leverage a widely-used consumer technology like Bluetooth to make a difference,” Bay said on Tuesday. “Having said that, the biggest challenges in tech are really technical. We were using Bluetooth in an unfamiliar manner, and you don’t know how the technology would evolve and mature.” Singapore’s easing of restrictions hinges on higher usage of contact-tracing app Singapore claimed to be among the first countries to roll out a national contact-tracing app using Bluetooth earlier this year, drawing attention from other states trying to battle the pandemic. A number of nations from France to the US also launched apps, though in most places tech failed to deliver.