Info-tech

Here’s how various countries are using technology to fight Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 08, 2020 Published on May 08, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

The coronavirus pandemic is continuing its spread across the world, with more than three million confirmed cases in 185 countries. More than 2,00,000 people have lost their lives.

Many countries are using digital technology to help limit the spread of coronavirus. Technologyis playing a crucial role in keeping our society functional in a time of lockdowns and quarantines. And they may have a long-lasting impact beyond Covid-19.

Here is a list of technologies that different countries are using to fight coronavirus pandemic.

India

The Indian government has launched a smartphone app called Aarogya Setu to help track coronavirus patients and the people they come in contact with.

Available in 11 languages, the app was launched on both Andriod and iOS. It uses Bluetooth technology to allow people to check whether there is a coronavirus case in their vicinity.

A Gurgaon-based start-up, Staqu, recently announced an array of offerings to facilitate superior Covid-19 response. The brand is leveraging its proprietary video analytics platform JARVIS to roll out cutting edge use-cases aimed at identifying, tracking and curbing the spread of Covid-19 and similar contagion.

Australia

As the number of coronavirus infections increases across the world, Australia has launched an app for tracking those who have come in contact with confirmed patients. This comes amid concerns that such smartphone apps may infringe upon citizens’ privacy.

Using a Bluetooth wireless signal, the CovidSafe app allows health officials to access crucial information about a person’s interactions if they contract the virus. All mobile phone numbers within a 1.5-meter range of the infected person — for 15 minutes or more — will be stored.

China

Health apps have been a crucial element of China’s race to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Users scan QR codes to share information about their health status and travel history. These codes need to be scanned before boarding buses and trains or entering airports, offices and even their own housing complexes.

Different colors on the apps indicate different levels of risk, with green codes granted unrestricted movement, yellow codes for seven days of quarantine, and red codes for those who required 14 days of quarantine. The apps can trace whether users have been in contact with infected people.

Italy

As Italy mulls measures for a gradual lifting of its coronavirus lockdown, the country is working on an app that would trace people who have come in contact with a confirmed case.

Acknowledging concerns over privacy and data control, innovation minister Paola Pisano said it would help in bringing the country back towards relative normalcy. A fast tender was launched for the app — to cover monitoring and medical support — towards the end of March, receiving hundreds of proposals that are currently being assessed. The app would work on a voluntary basis and have a clearly defined objective.

South Korea

South Korea was one of the first countries to experience a coronavirus outbreak and used massive testing and technology to emerge as a case study for controlling the number of cases nationwide

South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) runs Covid-19 Smart Management System (SMS), a contact tracing system that runs through smartphone apps and helps the authorities analyze the movement of affected patients and those in quarantine.

The country will also begin strapping electronic wristbands on those who ignore home-quarantine orders. A refusal to use the band would result in the person being moved to a shelter, which they will have to pay for themselves.

Germany

Germany gradually warming up to Covid-19 tracing app.

After pushing for a home-grown alternative, Germany has changed tracks to back an approach supported by US tech giants Apple and Google. The German-led alternative was called Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT), with the country's Fraunhofer HHI research institute and the Robert Koch Institute public health body as key players.

It received criticism over a central database. It has now chosen to support Apple and Google's approach, with decentralized software architecture. The data, in this case, will be stored on users' phones.

Published on May 08, 2020

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