WHO to launch COVID-19 app for countries that need one
Ever since COVID-19 started spreading, health experts have been stressing on the importance of aggressive contact-tracing to fight the pandemic. Now, to make that happen without any gaps or pitfalls, the World Health Organization (WHO) is working towards bringing a COVID-19 app that would offer tracking and symptom assessment benefits for free. Here's all you need to know about it.
Until now, several governments, including that of India, have moved to launch their own symptom checker and contact-tracing apps to keep their people fully aware of the continuously evolving situation. But, the thing is, many countries are still financially stretched to prioritize developing and maintaining a system like that. They are, therefore, trying to contain the pandemic without making the best use of technology.
To tackle this, WHO is developing a standardized global COVID-19 app, the outfit's CIO Bernardo Mariano told Reuters. Mariano said the app will offer symptom-assessment benefits to all the countries that "do not have anything" right now. This would not just make more people aware of COVID-19 symptoms but also prompt them to get tested, instead of passing the disease as cold/flu.
Along with basic symptom assessment, the organization also plans to enable contact-tracing through the app and has already started discussions with Apple and Google to use their joint tracking system to make that happen. The companies' tech does not include location tracking, but Mariano said certain legal and privacy issues have stopped the WHO from implementing it in the initial version of the app.
Mariano added the global COVID-19 app will be launched later in May but did not provide a specific timeline. From what it looks like, this could be the same WHO app that showed up for temporary 'early access' on the Google Play Store a month ago but we will not know for sure until the final version rolls out.