COVID-19 apps are mobile applications that helped track contacts in response to the coronavirus pandemic of 2019-20. The identification mechanism for people who might have had contact with an infected person. Tuberculosis, vaccine-preventable infections, other serious bacterial infections, and new infections are commonly cited through contact tracing device diseases.
For decades, contact tracing has been a foundation for the prevention of communicable diseases in public health. Touch tracing performs in cases of diseases of unknown infectious potential to learn about the characteristics of the disease such as infectiousness. Although contact tracing is widely tracking the disease, it is also a vital method to investigate new diseases or outbreaks.
Countries worldwide are scrambling to launch applications for contact tracing. Their goal is to determine who an infected person has had contact with to slow coronavirus outbreak.
What is Contact Tracing?
Tracing touch is a way of stopping the disease from spreading. Health care staff interview people who are recently diagnosing coronavirus finds out who they may have been in contact with.
For some territories and jurisdictions, with official government help, they were proposing various applications. On 10 April 2020, Google and Apple jointly revealed about their partnership to fight against COVID- 19. They will incorporate features directly into their Android and iOS operating systems to support these Bluetooth based applications.
Goal Of Contact Tracing App
- Breaking ongoing transmission and minimizing the spread of infection
- To alert contacts to the risk of infection and provide preventive or preventive care
- And if treatable, including diagnosis, counseling, and care for people already infected
- Avoid reinfection of the originally infected patient
- Learn about the disease epidemiology in a particular population
What government do with our data?
The government gathers all the information filled in the application form of the app. This information is used by health and research people for the purpose of making a survey. These apps can be deleted at any time from your phone.
Trust is an important part of helping people take the required measures to tackle the pandemic. These decentralized contact tracing apps are designed with privacy in mind. They also provide a better resource for solving real public health problems.
How all these apps works?
When two smartphone users come close to each other, both devices use the Bluetooth signal intensity to measure the distance between themselves. The location of the users is not important, because the application just wants to know whether the users are close enough together to establish a risk of infection. When an app user learns they are COVID-19 positive, they will warn other users to their own risk of infection. This is where various prototypes for the device diverge significantly.
Some Contact tracing apps allow officials, such as health officers, to confirm a person is positive for the disease before they can alert other users of the app. Certain models can allow users to self-report infection status or symptoms, but this may lead to large numbers of false positives that could undermine the application’s usefulness.
Countries with official Contact Tracing App
There are many countries all around the world using many contact tracing app to fight against the noble pandemic coronavirus. Here we tried to cover most of them.
Bahrain: The main feature of the Beware Baharain app is it uses citizens’ location data to alert individuals who in case they encounter an active case.
Colombia: CoronApp provide accurate information to overtime health authorities to know who to screen and provide the required assistance.
Israel: The app HaMagen tracks a user’s whereabouts using standard location APIs and then compares them to known movements of those diagnosed with COVID-19.
North Macedonia: The Bluetooth-based StopKorona app monitors exposure to individuals potentially infected and allows health authorities to respond rapidly.
Norway: The Smittestopp software app that the Norwegian Government is developing requires Bluetooth and GPS signals
India: The Aarogya Setu device established by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, National Informatics Centre.
Ghana: The government has launched the “GH Covid-19 Tracker App” uses a location-tracking technology to provide detailed information about people who have been in the same case.
Singapore: “Trace together ” app is launched by the Singapore government. The contact tracing protocol was developed using OpenTrace, an open-source reference implementation.
Czech Republic: The government has launched an app that was developed by the local IT group named eRouška.
China: The ‘close touch detector’ informs whether people are close to someone who has been the victim of the disease.
Australia: Australia uses mainly three apps against corona first, Coronavirus Australia. Second, COVIDSafe which is to track contacts that also use the same framework as Coronavirus Australia. Lastly, they used CORONAlert which has set of quarantine rules, proximity, and also all the zone alerts.
Angola: Covid-19 AO stores information and also give quarantine enforcement. They work on web platforms.
Germany: The government of Germany launches an Ito contact tracing app working on ios or android platforms.
France: StopCovid and ROBERT are two contact tracing apps used by the government of France. They also use android and ios platform like many other countries.
Austria: Stopp Corona is an app in Austria and the main feature of this app is to contact tracing and medical reporting.
NHS COVID-19 Latest contact tracing app
NHS COVID-19 is a new contact-tracing app designed by the NHS to slow down the spreading of the coronavirus in the UK. After installing the app, they give us a warning if we are in touch with other device users who have reported having symptoms of coronavirus. This helps us to take precautions to prevent the virus from moving on.
Some features of this app that make it different from other contact tracing apps are given below:
- We can actually decide whether to give details if we are suffering from coronavirus symptoms
- The app does not collect any personal information. So can be more secured
- For the application to work, the NHS assigns a random installation ID to all users. Since NHS does not collect or store any personal information, it is not possible to connect the Installation ID to you as an individual.
- The app generates a specific regular ID, as an extra layer of protection.
you can get more details about app on NHS app explainer.
Indian Mobile Apps to fight against CoronaVirus
India is currently using more than 10 apps to fight against Coronavirus :
- Arogya Setu: This is a contact tracing app and uses the android ios platform. The Union Ministry for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, uses this.
- COVA Punjab: This is funded by the Punjab government and is using the framework of the Android ios. They also track communications.
- COVID-19 Feedback: This gives feedbacks and uses an android platform. The Union Ministry for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, uses this.
- COVID-19 Quarantine Monitor: They use the app for contact tracing and also for geofencing using the TBA platform. The government of Tamil Nadu uses this contact tracing app.
- GOK: Tes contain information and uses an android platform. The government of Kerala uses this GOK.
- Mahakavach: Maharashtra government uses the Mahakavach app. These apps use the Android platform and for contact tracing.
- Quarantine Watch: The government of Karnataka uses Quarantine watch using the android app. This is also a contact tracing app used by the Karnataka government.
- Test Yourself Goa: Government of Goa uses the android supported platform for self-diagnosing.
- Test Yourself Ponducherry: Government of Puducherry like Goa government uses the android supported platform for self-diagnosing.
Google / Apple contact tracing project
On April 10, 2020, Google and Apple, the companies running the mobile Android and iOS systems. They announced a contact monitoring program, which they said would protect privacy based on a combination of Bluetooth Low Energy technology and privacy-preserving cryptography. They also released core-technology specifications used in the program.
According to Apple and Google, the framework is planning to introduce in three stages: API specification and the release of tools to allow governments to build officially privacy-conserving coronavirus tracing apps to incorporate this capability directly into iOS and Android
Google and Apple aim to fix the take-up and ongoing monitoring problems by first spreading the program via operating system updates, and then eliminating it in the same way once the danger is over.
Technology can help, but it is only part of an effective strategy
One of the key ways in which technology can help avoid coronavirus spreading is by automated contact tracking, which is the method of detecting people who may have come into contact with the virus. This form of contact tracing technology already helps to contain Covid-19 spread in countries such as Singapore and Taiwan — but it has limitations.
Technology helps us fight the pandemic epidemic but we must also make some effort to tackle this novel pandemic. The app helps to notify people when they are in contact with an infected person and they also give information guidelines to overcome this situation. So we also have to join our hands together and follow them and stay home safe.
However, if anyone infected with COVID-19, the government can get access to their application data to map user’s activity for tracing people contacted with an infected user and quarantine them to stop further spreading. Contact Tracing apps do not collect data about the user’s position. Also, many governments, including France, Germany, and the UK, have recently announced that they are working on creating touch tracing apps to identify potential chains of transmission for COVID-19 infections.
Areas that are in the midst of an epidemic — like New York and California where there is widespread population transmission and people are still sheltering in their homes, detailed contact tracking is less useful. Yet in the future, as the number of cases in those states gradually falls and companies start reopening, touch tracing may help people re-enter society safely. At least, these apps allow us to reduce the number of cases rather than causing a massive pandemic outbreak.