Israel has launched a new mobile app that alerts users who have crossed paths with a COVID-19 patient over the previous 14 days. The tracking, which uses cellphone location data, credit card purchase data, and other digital information, aims to alert and order those who were within two meters of someone who has been infected with the virus within the past two weeks to be under compulsory quarantine.
- Under a ministry initiative, the app was developed by using open-source tools with the aim to efficiently deploy the app in other countries at no cost.
- After a user installs the app, the app keeps track of their movements and compares the information with Health Ministry data on where those who are positively diagnosed have been.
- If the app finds that the user was in the same area at the same time with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus, the app shares information on the process of self-quarantine registration with the user.
- As the users’ personal and location data remain on their phones and are not shared with others, the app periodically requests the individuals to allow for their data to be used for location tracking.
- Around 1.5 million Israelis have downloaded the app.
- In the first week, 50,000 app users reported that they have self-quarantined.
Source: Reuters, Times of Israel, CNBC