The outbreak of a new COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for governments and societies all over the world. Countries have responded to COVID-19, imposing several regulations. Including travel bans, closing retail centers, restricting the working process from office, and overall, bringing the economy to a halt.
However, when China first announced the lockdown, the virus has been effectively contained. Also, businesses have started operating, and society seems to be returning to an average life pace. But how?
In this case, smartphones started to play a vital role. They are an integral part of everyone’s lives, meaning we take them almost everywhere we go. Thus, telecommunication service operators can provide the most precise information. Logging where a person has traveled in recent times or how long this visit lasted.
Operators and governments can work together to keep provided data secure and private—this way, prevention, and new regulations to be set in a timely fashion.
China is overcoming the pandemic battle and containing the virus as much as possible. Using mobile technologies, they are trying to create a ‘health code.’ Any smartphone owner can acquire this code by voluntarily declaring their movements at crucial moments in the fight against the virus. Which often results in stricter decisions, like lockdowns.
With sufficient technological support and specific, reliable, and timely data, specialists can monitor the possible scenarios and take action early.
Moreover, mobile apps can quantify contacts or track symptoms and analyze. Many developers are now working on initiatives, ensuring that apps are functioning by the best available epidemiology knowledge, mostly focusing on contact tracing efforts.
The purpose of contact tracing is to interrupt transmission chains. It ensures that a person who has been in contact with a COVID-infected individual receives a notification on time to takes reasonable actions against the virus.
The Smartphone technology, contact tracing, was first used and supported in Singapore. Downloading the ‘Trace together’ app is voluntary, and it collects data via Bluetooth, on which other devices have been near the user’s device. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, the app enables at-risk individuals to get information about what to do.
Consequently, mobile data are not a panacea, but they may serve as an essential technological source in cluster monitoring, discovering contact patterns, and taking early-stage decisions, which will ease the pandemic weave.