Bluetooth Dongle For Contact Tracing Still In Government’s Pipeline

The bluetooth dongle can be used for contact tracing for people without smartphones.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 – The government is still pursuing plans to introduce bluetooth dongles for Covid-19 contact tracing to complement the existing MySJ Trace function on the MySejahtera app that uses Bluetooth to identify close or casual contacts of Covid-19 cases.

The bluetooth dongle — which is used in Singapore — is a wearable device that does not require a mobile phone. The device is one of several contact tracing and quarantine control projects under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, in a written parliamentary reply on March 2, said the token or bluetooth dongle project is still at the acquisition planning phase under MOSTI.

He said this in response to Sandakan MP Vivian Wong Shir Yee’s request for updates on plans to develop a token system as a check-in alternative for those without smartphones.

“Should the ministry decide to proceed with it, the use of this token or bluetooth dongle system will need to undergo a pilot test for at least three months under MIMOS. MIMOS will develop algorithms equipped with safety features,” Khairy said.

MIMOS is a research and development centre under MOSTI.

“The bluetooth dongle will be interoperable with the MySejahtera app. The purpose of the pilot test is to ensure that the bluetooth dongles are suitable and can be effectively used by individuals who do not own a smartphone,” said Khairy.

“A report of the pilot test will then be prepared for stakeholder consideration. Once approved, the nationwide rollout process for the bluetooth dongles will be carried out by the Ministry of Health (MOH),” Khairy added.

In Singapore, the bluetooth dongle, known as TraceTogether Tokens, is distributed free of charge to residents aged seven and above. The token can be carried in a bag or in pockets due to its small size, and exchanges short-distance Bluetooth signals with nearby tokens or mobile phones that have the TraceTogether app. 

The use of the dongle, estimated at SG$20 (RM61) per unit, is optional. 

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