ICT Division launches app in collaboration with Shohoz.com for contact tracing
The government has launched a mobile phone app to help citizens prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Bangladesh.
‘Corona Tracer BD’ will be used in tracing individuals effectively and timely as well as provide information to public health officials to test suspects and help circulate necessary healthcare advice.
The Information and Communication Technology Division on Thursday launched the beta version of the app during a virtual media call.
Directorate General of Health Services, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Access to Information (a2i), Skill Development for Mobile Game And Application of the ICT Division, and private sector stakeholder Shohoz jointly worked to develop the app under the initiative of ICT Division.
Shohoz provided technical support in developing the app.
Using the app, which requires bluetooth connectivity to be switched on, will aware users of their exposure and circulate necessary distancing measures, thereby flattening the curve, said the organisations associated with the process.
According to the module, if both the healthy user and infected user have the app installed with, it will exchange signals via bluetooth on necessary information.
Phones have to be in contact for a minimum threshold period and reasonably close to each other to let the app function, according to the developers.
If any uninfected user is at risk, he or she will receive a notification of being exposed. However, the phones needed to be connected to the internet. The alerted individual can take necessary precautions and can take preventive suggestions delivered by the app to stop transmission.
State minister for ICT Junaid Ahmed Palak said at the launching it will help prevent spread of coronavirus and will assist the necessary authorities in taking prevention mechanisms.
The app, which will automatically communicate between two mobile phones through bluetooth connectivity, will help the government to identify all the suspects who came in contact with a Covid-19 positive patient, he said.
If an individual is exposed to a Covid-19 infected person for 15 minutes, during the infection period of four days to 14 days, their information will be collected by this app and will be stored at a central database supervised by the health authorities, said Palak.
“Using the information stored, the app will help health authorities to circulate necessary health advisories to the people at risk efficiently,” he added.
Maliha M Quadir, founder and managing director of Shohoz, said the app will help isolate the infected, thus reduce risk of transmission.
The app will require registration via a mobile phone number, but it is essential to keep the bluetooth connectivity enabled to let the app function, she said.
The app is currently available for android users and a version will be developed for IOS users shortly, added Maliha.
IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina Flora thinks the app will help circulate necessary alerts to individuals on who need isolation and what they will do in isolation period while also for who need quarantine, for how many days and medical advisories during quarantine period.
“If an individual is at risk, he will get an alert if he need a test. Using the app, he/she can also locate where they can provide the sample for a covid-19 test,” she added.
Any information related to the coronavirus will be available in the application launched, but keeping the bluetooth is essential for let it function, stressed the IEDCR director.
“It is very challenging and is almost impossible right now to implement contact tracing manually. The app, if participated by people, will comparatively make the process easier for contact tracing, thus help prevent in covid-19 transmission,” she added.
According to IEDCR director, the transmission takes place if a person comes in close within 1 meter distance of an infected and stays there for 15 minutes.
DGHS director general Abul Kalam Azad said the app will help implement contact tracing, particularly for people living in urban areas, where contact tracing is difficult.
The app can be downloaded from https://bit.ly/coronatracerbd