WHO to develop coronavirus app for self-assessment; likely to add contact tracing features

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 09, 2020 Published on May 09, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to launch a new coronavirus app to enable people from under-resourced countries to self-assess their symptoms for Covid-19, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The organization is also considering a Bluetooth-based contact tracing feature for the app, the report said.

The app will be a self-assessment tool for people to understand more about their symptoms, their risk of infection and offers necessary guidance for the same according to Bernardo Mariano, chief information officer for the WHO. It will also have personalized information such as how to get tested that will be customized as per the user’s country.

The WHO will release a version on app stores across the world. It will also enable governments to take the app’s underlying technology, and features to help them release their own version on app stores, the report said.

The idea is to offer the technology in other countries that do not have their own contact tracing solutions, including some countries in South America and Africa where cases are surging.

“The value is really for countries that do not have anything,” Mariano said as quoted by Reuters. “We would be leaving behind the ones that are not able to (provide an app), that have fragile health systems.”

Countries such as India, Australia and the United Kingdom have their own government-issued contact tracing apps. In India, government’s contact tracing app Aargoya Setu had close to nine crore downloads by May 4 according to reports.

WHO had previously released its WHO Info app for Android, iOS and Web.

The official WHO information app is meant to provide daily updates on Covid-19 including the latest news, feature stories, fact sheets, disease outbreak updates, and public health emergency information.

The WHO is planning to release its guidance app on whether countries should consider developing their own tracking solutions next week, the report added.

Published on May 09, 2020

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