China has launched an app that lets people check if they have been at risk of catching the coronavirus.
The app named ‘close contact detector’ tells its users if they have come near a person who is suspected or confirmed of having the coronavirus. The authorities released the app on 7th February 2020, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
Local health authorities advise people at risk to stay at home and also inform them.
Users have to scan a Quick Response (QR) code using popular Chinese apps like WeChat and payment service, Alipay. Then they submit their name, phone number and government-issued ID number to request information about whether they have been in close contact with anyone infected by the virus.
Registered phone numbers can also be used to check the status of up to three ID numbers.
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The General Office of the State Council, China Electronics Technology Group Corporations (CETC) with data from health and transport authorities, is responsible for jointly developing the app, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.
Health Commission defines close contact for coronavirus app
According to the Chinese National Health Commission, close contact refers to someone who has come in close contact, with no effective protection. It also includes close distance with confirmed cases, suspected cases or mild cases while the person was ill or showed asymptomatic cases in the following conditions.
People who work together, share a classroom and live in the same house should check themselves. Medical staff or other people who have had close contact with patients and their caregivers should likewise do the same.
Others include all air passengers within three rows of an infected person. Cabin staff will be seen as being in close contact while other passengers are seen as having general contact.
All passengers and crew members in the same carriage in air-conditioned trains are also regarded as being in close contact.
The Chinese government is known for conducting high levels of surveillance on its citizenry. However, experts suggest it will not be seen as controversial within the country, in this case at least.
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