GEORGE TOWN: As the country rings in the New Year, the battle against Covid-19 remains a top priority.

And while Malaysians learn to live with the virus, they also need to quickly adapt to the MySejahtera Trace (MySJ Trace) feature to protect themselves against the virus.

Sandra Lim, 45, who manages a charity organisation, said she was rather confused by the new feature initially after finding it on her Android phone, and did not activate it.

“I knew about the function but thought that it would activate automatically, but as it turned out, I have yet to complete the set-up process which requires some connectivity settings to be enabled.

“Many people including myself are still unfamiliar with the new function, though we believe that the new feature could give us more protection against the virus,” she said.Lim also said the elderly might face difficulty in understanding the function and will require guidance.

Retired company clerk Girlie Ng, 65, said the MySejahtera app on her iPhone has not shown the MySJ Trace function.

“I still believe in keeping safe the traditional way, by reducing contact and practising the SOP.

“Additional safety features are good but I am not a tech-savvy person,” she said.

Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim, who was appointed as the coordinator between the federal and Penang governments on Covid-19 issues, explained that the new MySJ Trace function acts as an extra measure to enhance Covid-19 management, and encouraged Malaysians to embrace it.

“MySJ Trace is an additional feature introduced voluntarily to assist with contact tracing.

“We are already quite mature in our QR-based check-in/check-out contact tracing,” he said.

“But the weakness is that many people forget to check out, and sometimes they also don’t check in like walking in a crowded street where social distancing may not be sufficient.”

Sim said as people live with Covid-19, activities such as returning to work, visiting night markets and attending events will require a more efficient system to track positive cases which can be isolated quickly.

“If we can detect and isolate positive cases quickly, then others are spared, reducing the need for further isolation or another lockdown,” he said.

Sim noted that the tracking using Bluetooth is not new as it has been introduced by Google and Facebook early in the pandemic.

“Countries like Singapore use a version of this tracer. I hope more people will enable it.

“The government must also continue to build trust to persuade people to embrace Covid-19 management strategies like vaccination or turning on Bluetooth tracers,” he said, adding that there must be zero privacy intrusion.

The MySejahtera app has been updated with a new function called MySJ Trace.

The add-on feature, using Bluetooth technology, will allow easier close contact tracing with those who test positive for Covid-19.

With the new feature, the check-out module will be removed from MySejahtera.

To ensure the effectiveness of the feature, users are required to activate Bluetooth on their devices at all times.

When a person is confirmed to be positive for Covid-19, a notification will appear through MySejahtera to request approval for the sharing of any close contact information that was detected.

Upon approval, MySejahtera will provide access to the Health Ministry to conduct a risk assessment on all the close contact data traced via Bluetooth, before conducting close contact tracing activities on identified individuals.

This will not take place if no approval is given by the individual and any close contact tracing will be done manually.

The MySJ feature uses an anonymised Unique User ID and will not collect users’ data or their geo-location. The data can only be accessed and kept on a user’s device for 14 days.

The Health Ministry encourages Malaysians to use the MySJ Trace in public places, public transport, eateries and shopping centres.