Contact tracing app awaits approval

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - August 2, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — A contact tracing application for persons infected with the coronavirus disease is just awaiting approval from the Cebu City government.

Two Cebuano information technology experts—Mark Anthony Racal and Loucris Pongas— have developed COVID-19 tracking app capable of determining a probable or positive patient.

The app, they said, is aimed at providing the city an “integrated and reliable” system for coronavirus-related measures, especially in crowd control and contact tracing.

All individuals who come to Cebu City will be given their own quarantine codes for contact tracing. All pieces of information are encrypted for privacy and could not be accessed by unauthorized persons.

The app will automatically tag a positive person and everyone he or she had been in contact with. A map locating the residence of the probable or positive patient can also be viewed.

The authorities manning the checkpoints, guards at the business establishments and those scanning the pass will also know if the person is infected or not.

The creation of the app came about after Racal, an embedded software engineer from Barangay Pardo, saw the need to improve the city’s QR (quick response) code quarantine pass printed on a short bond paper.

Racal said they have already sent letters to City Hall officials for the demonstration of the app, but have yet to receive a response.

Contact tracing seminar

Meanwhile, 35 personnel of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) were capacitated to conduct virtual contact tracing.

The CPA personnel and partner cargo handling service providers underwent training the other day with the help of the Office of the Civil Defense.

CPA General Manager Leonilo Miole, in a statement, said the training was vital to help address further transmission of the virus and to efficiently assist the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas in the conduct of contact tracing in the ports.

"We want to speed up our contact tracing efforts in the port by capacitating our CPA personnel and port stakeholders on how to properly conduct contact tracing with the help and expertise of our partners from DOH," he said.

Contact tracing, a public health strategy used to combat communicable diseases, is a process of finding out people who have recently been in close contact with an infected person.

Also, 32 CPA safety and environmental officers, pollution control officers, drivers, janitors and cargo handling service providers underwent proper decontamination training Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in a statement, said the government needs to train and hire contact tracers to break the chains of COVID-19 transmission.

Año said the department has already submitted a proposal to the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease for the hiring and training of contact tracers as part of the government’s expanded contact tracing efforts to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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