Digital solution for Covid-19 contact tracing eyed in PH

ONE of the key reasons that the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has caused great concern is its long incubation period.

Most experts agree that for up to 14 days, many affected patients have no obvious symptoms.

Since nobody knows where these people have been or who they have been in contact with in the incubation period, many people around them could potentially be infected, leading to eruptions of infection in communities and large numbers of new cases.

The Philippines, as of January 14, 2021, had logged 494,605 confirmed cases, 459,252 recoveries and 9,739 deaths, making it the second worst-affected country in Southeast Asia.

Masks and gloves can help stop this, but there is a demand for other safeguards as well.

To help solve this problem, a Hong Kong-based technology company had launched in the Philippines the iBonus Covid-19 Digital Prevention System.

The system records the times and places participants have visited using contactless smart cards and a set of designated terminals installed at different locations.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the system, Barangay Malinao, Pasig City was selected as a pilot site for the project.

The system starts with a Covid-19 bubble concept. A bubble is created when a group of people agrees to a certain level of protective measures. By keeping this group small and exclusive, you can reduce your risk of exposure to the virus.

Smart identity cards are issued to residents who have tested negative for the novel coronavirus. They are free to go in and out of Pasig City after their smart identity cards are verified with the dedicated terminals on the entrance of the identified area.

Installed inside malls, for example, the system removes the need for manual registration at entrances of each establishment to record the entry of clients.

The system also can log all places the cardholder visited and makes alerts to all cardholders that have come in close contact with another who is positive for coronavirus.

Proponents plan to spread the use of the system in the whole country starting with the distribution of free smart identity card terminals to all local government units in the Philippines.

The iBonus Covid-19 Digital Prevention System was introduced in March 2020 based on a mathematical model published in the medical journal, “Coronaviruses” with Ferid Murad (Nobel Laureate) as a senior advisor.

The system was one of the finalists for the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO's) Healing Solutions Tourism Challenge and received an endorsement from UNWTO and the World Health Organization as “Top Solution.” (JTD)


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