As coronavirus cases surge in South Korea, the country is turning to smartphone apps to avoid spreading it further. Recently developed apps using public government data allow users to see how close they are to where a confirmed COVID-19 patient has been. A GPS-based system will set off an alarm when people bring monitored leave their designated locations. They can also see the date a patient was confirmed with the virus, demographic data about the patient, and crucially, some of their history. While identities are not published with the data, web developers are able to use the information to create detailed maps that track the movements of those infected. Coronamap and Corona 100M are apps that receive more than 300,000 views daily.
- The app allows people to see the date that a coronavirus patient was confirmed, along with that patient’s nationality, gender, age, and places visited. A person using the app can also see how close they are to coronavirus patients.
- If a person using the app comes within 100 meters, or about 328 feet, of a place where a person carrying the virus has been, they get a push notification warning.
- It plots the locations where people known to have had COVID-19 have been to make avoiding these areas easier.
- It backtracks the movements of infected persons via mobile phone location information, credit card usage, and data mining of CCTV footage.
- People can wander out of their quarantine areas intentionally as well as by mistake, and the app can help block these incidents in a more organized way.
- Can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by advising people not to go to certain places.
- Developers hope that the government develops its own app to pick up from where the project started.
- Travelers from high-risk areas are required to download an app and to report their health status every day for 14 days, post-entry.
Sources: Businessinsider, CNN, Technologyreview, Yonhap News