The COVID-19 outbreak has taken countries around the world by storm. All major countries have imposed a temporary lockdown to further prevent the spread of the virus. To help people during this shutdown and to ensure that the COVID-19 virus does not spread further, major countries have launched apps to gather data from affected areas and to keep citizens up to date with the latest official data.
At the same time, software giants like Google and Microsoft are releasing web tools to provide accurate data to millions of users. In this post, we will list out the apps and online tools that the countries have launched to combat COVID-19. Let’s get started.
Apps Launched by Countries to Prevent Coronavirus
China is one of the worst affected countries by COVID-19 disease. The Chinese government with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation and announced an app called Close Contact Detector. As the name suggests, the app informs you about whether you have had contact with Coronavirus infected patients or not. It tracks user location and warns you to not visit the affected areas.
China is widely known to keep a close eye on its citizens. That includes gathering biometrics, tracking user location through GPS and CCTV cameras. They are using these data to track the location of affected Coronavirus patients. Users can scan the QR code on their smartphones using AliPay or WeChat. Once the app is registered, one can add a mobile number and ID to confirm their status.
Close Contact covers office space, living room, and other public transports including air travel and train. Once it has all the data, the app will warn you if the person sitting two rows ahead or behind you has been diagnosed with Coronavirus or not.
Singapore has launched a similar app as China, but unlike the Chinese government, it won’t track the user location. Their approach is unique. The TraceTogether app will work by exchanging short distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other participating users in close proximity of two meters.
The health ministry will frequently request users to send logs. The records are encrypted and stored locally on user devices. It doesn’t violate user privacy in any way. The solution is developed by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and the health ministry.
If you are caught providing wrong information then the government might charge you for it. The country hasn’t made it mandatory to download the app. But so far, it has done a better job of combating the COVID-19 spread in the country than others. Singapore has won international praise for its fastidious approach in tackling the virus.
The country has announced to make the BlueTrace, the technology underlying the TraceTogerther app, freely available to developers. So any developer can use it to make the COVID-19 tracking app for a region.
Following Singapore’s footsteps, UK government is planning to release a contact tracking app. The country is currently under lockdown. The tech is similar to TraceTogether app, which uses Bluetooth to alert users if you are close to someone who is COVID-19 positive. The government is expecting more than 50% population to opt-in for the app.
As for security concerns, the app won’t send the location data to central authorities. The app is expected to be released after the lockdown. The aim of the app is to alert users avoid getting in touch with COVID-19 infected person and limit the spread of the virus the country.
Italy is the worst country affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in the world. Locked down for more than three weeks, the Government of Italy has launched a Digital Solidarity page, where the companies can sign up and volunteer their services for free or fraction of cost.
Companies are using the platform to provide news, ebooks, entertainment, and even cloud storage for free to users. Some of the examples include Shopify, Cisco, IBM, SkyCarte, 4Books, Amazon Web Services, and hundreds of other companies. Mobile phone companies are also providing extra data to users to get through tough times.
Colombian President Ivan Duque has announced the CoronApp-Colombia to combat COVID-19 spread. The prime aim of the app is to prevent misinformation and fake news around the coronavirus situation in the country.
The app also allows the users to register themselves and enter their health status in the app. It is providing news as well as health measurements to take while being at home. The citizens are receiving the download link through a text message on their phones. The app free to download and it’s available on iOS and Android.
Israel’s solution is similar to China. Israeli Ministry of Health released an app called Hamagen and it informs the user whether he has visited the coronavirus affected area or has been in contact with the affected person.
“The application is a technological means intended to give each and every one of us the ability to accurately and immediately know if we were in contact with a person who was infected with the coronavirus,” the statement said. “With this, we can stop the spread of the disease and protect those closest to us.”
The app collects the GPS and SSID (Wi-Fi network) information of a user’s mobile device throughout the day. The Health Ministry also gathers data simultaneously by interviewing coronavirus patients and questioning them about their location history over the past two weeks. This data is then added to a JSON file that the app downloads every hour or so. Hamagen then tracks the user’s movements and compares the information with the Health Ministry data.
If it matches the data with user location then the app guides the user to visit the near hospital for treatment.
The Government of India has created a Telegram channel to combat COVID-19 disease and for sharing official data. Anyone can join the Telegram channel which will provide the latest news, videos, information about COVID-19. The channel will also provide the latest measures taken by the government to the people.
COVID-19 Tools Created by Google, Apple, and Microsoft
Google has witnessed skyrocketing coronavirus-related queries on its search engine. As a result, the software giant has created a dedicated COVID-19 portal to gather the most relevant information on a single webpage.
It displays essential information like health data, safety and prevention tips, data & insights, resources, and more. Google has integrated YouTube videos from health experts around the world. There are also cooking receipts and tips to stay safely at home. I like how the service has integrated most-common COVID-19 related search shortcuts on the website.
Apple has partnered with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA to develop a new screening tool and set of resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health against coronavirus.
The COVID-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms for themselves or family members. Based on the data, it advises the users to take the next steps like social distancing and self-isolating. The tools also offer access to resources to help people stay informed and get the support they need. One can also use Siri to access guidance and resources.
➤ Download: Apple COVID-19
Microsoft has done a great job here. The COVID-19 tracker powered by Bing brings all the COVID-19 elements in a single place. The page displays the world map with a number of reported cases, total death, and recoveries. Microsoft has integrated the news and videos from the well-known news sources around the globe. The tracker also lets you see the causality by country.
Stay Home Stay Safe
Follow your government’s advice, use the tools above to keep yourself safe and informed during these uncertain times. If you are from other countries then do use the web tools by Microsoft and Google to track the data. If you are working from home, then do read our dedicated post on the best apps to use while getting things done from home. Do let us know which tracker or app you used to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.