Random thoughts about opening up

Just as we’ve started opening up, Covid-19 case numbers are rising, from low double digits to over 250 yesterday. But we’ll continue on this path because ICU numbers remain low and 80% of the population is already fully immunised. Booster shots for some will start soon.

I think most of us will encounter the virus some day since it is out there and even vaccinated people will get infected. To minimise the chances of getting seriously ill we should all try to minimise the exposure dose of flying virus particles. That means wearing our masks properly at all times. For this reason, I’m banning any drinking of water during my office meetings.

Yes, we will all be going back to office more regularly now that restrictions are lifted. Looking forward to working more efficiently. Not looking forward to the whole getting dressed up and commuting thing.

The opening up includes quarantine-free return from Germany. So a trip there is now a truly viable possibility. Of course one should always set aside more funds if something goes wrong. For example, one can test positive at any stage and have to be isolated/quarantined/hospitalised. That will add a couple of unplanned weeks to the holiday.

Photo challenge – Covid lunch

This is my contribution to a one-to-three photo processing challenge using a picture of lunch. Let me know which looks more appetising?

Yes, a Covid-19 lunch is a socially distanced affair. This photo was taken 2 weeks ago, when we were not fully opened up. I expect it will get more busy soon, which will be good for businesses. Stay safe, everyone!

To find out about the photo challenge and view more posts, go here.

Essential

Singapore’s TraceTogether App does everything needed for Covid-19. It captures anonymous bluetooth proximity records, displays personal vaccination records and registers SafeEntry check-ins. The personal token does this too but has no displays. Personal tokens must be exchanged when the battery runs out.

The smartphone has become so necessary, you can’t leave home without it, and it isn’t just because you need to make calls or be contacted.

One new feature is that phones now have wallets to make contactless payments, so you don’t need to use cash or physical cards to pay. You could tap a smartphone to get on a train or a bus, or buy a cup of coffee.

More incredibly, phones are now used to verify identities. For example, you need a phone for two-factor authentication to log into secure emails or bank accounts. In a related fashion, we use phone apps as loyalty cards to get store discounts. By showing the app, we indicate “this is my phone, this is your app, I’m a member.”

And we use our phones to read news, surf the Internet, check out driving directions, order food deliveries. I sometimes use my phone to make blog posts.

Covid-19 has made the phone quite essential everywhere you go in Singapore especially the TraceTogether App. To gain entry to places, it is mandatory to register by tapping your phone at SafeEntry gantries and be traced should one be a Covid case contact. The app bluetooth is on all the time to capture which other phones you have been in significant contact with, again for contact tracing purposes. You need a phone to show your vaccinated status before you can buy food to eat. Unvaccinated persons can still buy food to go or takeaway but cannot eat in public.

A special TraceTogether token does all the phone app functions but without the display. The tokens can be read by special readers.

So you can see it is all highly regulated, and Orwellian, since you are tracked everywhere you go.

The dependency on the smartphone means that if the battery runs out, one must go home.