Apps to notify users on crossing paths with people infected by coronavirus

Apps to notify users on crossing paths with people infected by coronavirus

The new apps use location data to alert users when they or their children have crossed paths with people infected by coronavirus

Developers are using their skills to help the public avoid those who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Two new apps use location data to notify users if they have crossed paths with an individual who is infected with the virus.

The Private Kit developed by MIT is safe, lets those with coronavirus share their location data, allowing others to receive an alert if they come in contact with the individual.

Its creators have noted that data shared is encrypted and sharing the information only occurs at the user’s choice.

Another app, made by Bosco focuses on keeping children safe by analysing their location and building a map using of data that is cross-referenced with the Ministry of Health data of confirmed tests to see if the child has come within 300 feet of someone infected.

The coronavirus from Wuhan, China is one which has never been seen before this outbreak.

It began in December 2019 and has since infected more than 164 countries across the globe.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been more than 230,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths reported.

When a person tests positive, they are not only quarantined, but are also asked to retrace their steps so officials can test those they may have come in contact with.

Now MIT hopes to make the process easier with new app that lets the public know via their smartphone.

‘Private Kit: Safe Paths is an MIT-led, free, open-source and privacy-first contact-tracing technology that provides individual users information on their interaction with COVID-19, while also empowering governments’ efforts to contain an epidemic outbreak, the team shared in a published white paper.

The solution is a ‘pull’ model where users can download encrypted location information about carriers so the users can self-determine their likely exposure to COVID-19 and coordinate their response with their doctor using their symptoms and personal health history, it said.

The app collects users’ location data, while keeping a time-stamped log every five minutes.

And it is able to store 28 days of data at a time.

Researchers claim the information ‘never’ leaves the user’s smartphone and it is encrypted so they cannot be identified.

Bosco has also launched an app to help people safe as the pandemic spreads across the globe, but this technology focuses on children.

It analyses children’s location and builds a map using the data, which is cross-referenced with the Ministry of Health tests of confirmed to see if the child has come within 328 feet of someone infected.

If yes, parents will be alerted with a link to the relevant information published by the Ministry of Health.

The app has proved successful in India, as it found 100 children were near a carrier of the virus.

Bosco CEO Enon Landenberg said: We have decided to add this alert mechanism for parents as there is a surge in the number of carriers diagnosed in Israel and the tortuous paths they have gone through makes human tracking very challenging.

In doing so, we take this chore off our parents’ shoulders and try to contribute little to their peace of mind at this time, Landenberg said.

It is important to note that we do not monitor the movements of the parents, so they will not be notified if they themselves were near a patient, only the children’s devices, Landenberg said.

Bosco app monitors children’s activity on WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube and alerts parents in cases where children experience stress and anxiety through the use of words such as death, fear, corona, etc. in conversations with friends and group discussions or a sudden change in the child’s normal voice.

This information is also sent to parents and allows them to act and intervene if needed, Landenberg said.

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