Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: New app tracks previous contacts of essential workers who test positive

The app developers insist rights to privacy will be respected

A mobile application to help people who cannot work from home track their previous contacts and locations in case they test positive to coronavirus has been launched, it was announced on Sunday.

The CovTracer app is only intended for employees and workers who need to work outside and cannot stay at home. This includes policemen, doctors and nurses, firemen, and people working in utilities providing electricity, water, internet, and other essential services.

The app was developed by the Research Centre on Interactive media, Smart Systems and Emerging technologies (Rise)

According to Rise, the CovTracer app “works for halting the Covid-19 pandemic in Cyprus by facilitating tracing of infected patients and accelerating action-taking.”

Users will be able to record their location via GPS. All information remains on the device but respect the user’s privacy, Rise said.

If a user is tested positive to Covid-19,they can choose to share the geolocation data of their movements during the previous two weeks with epidemiologists.

The epidemiologists will check this information and take action such as evacuate areas, perform disinfections or inform people who were in close contact with the patient.

“If the patient wishes, the geo-locations of his/her movements can become anonymous and public on the database of CovTracer.”

Rise stressed that information about the patient’s home and any possible identification traces are removed.

Other users of the app will be able to view on their device anonymous geo-location data of the movements of confirmed Covid-19 patients which coincide with his/her traces in space and time. If they have coronavirus symptoms they will then need to contact authorities and ask for advice, Rise said.

It stressed that the first version of the mobile app targets only employees and workers who need to work outside and cannot stay at home.

“For the rest of the Cyprus population, we strongly advise them to stay at home in order to stop the spreading of the epidemic,” Rise said

The application was developed following a call by the Deputy Minister for Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriacos Kokkinos, for suggestions that could offer quick and innovative solutions to fight coronavirus pandemic, Rise said.

It added that the app is based on the Safepaths technology of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ΜΙΤ).

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and from the government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.


The link only for those NOT working from home

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