13 Feb 2020
China launched an app to detect potential coronavirus cases
As the death toll from the outbreak of coronavirus continues to increase, China, the epicenter of the epidemic, is doing everything possible to isolate diseased patients and prevent the infection from spreading.
Now, to push these efforts forward, the government of the country has launched a dedicated app to let people check if they have contracted the virus.
Here's all about it.
'Close contact detector' tells if you are at risk
The app in question, dubbed 'Close contact detector', allows a person to determine if they have been infected by coronavirus or at risk of contracting it.
It requires a user to follow a regular registration process and then provides a report on if they have been around someone who has been confirmed or suspected to have contracted the virus.
But, how exactly the app tells about contact?
Close contact detector sounds helpful and would certainly help a lot of people determine if they have been in contact with someone who suffered from the coronavirus.
However, it is worth noting that the entire working of this app relies on the often-criticized mass surveillance program carried out by the Chinese government as well as the data gathered by its health and transport authorities.
How the app works
Though the app is not available outside China, BBC reports that Chinese citizens will be able to use it by scanning a QR code using apps like WeChat and Alipay.
Then, it would have to be registered with a phone number, post which the user can conduct up to three searches (using dedicated IDs) to check the status of people.
If contact is detected, it advises patients to stay home
When the app detects a person who may have been in close or general contact of a patient and therefore could have contracted the virus, it advises them to stay indoors and inform local health authorities.
According to the Chinese government, it can detect infections transmitted from people working together, studying in the same classroom, or traveling together in buses, trains, or flights.
China is also using robots to fight coronavirus
Along with the app, China has also deployed a range of robots to help detect cases of coronavirus, keep public informed about the diseases, and to conduct regular UV disinfection in medical facilities.