Besides the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Chinese officials are hoping to keep their people safe by giving them the power of information. They have developed an app that can inform a person whether it has been in close contact to someone infected or not.
According to Chinese state-run media agency Xinhua, the “close contact detector” works extremely easy, starting from a QR code. Once it is scanned through a Chinese app like WeChat, that code allows people to register with their phone number and ID number. Then, that number allows the user to make three enquiries regarding the coronavirus spread.
Based on its number, the authorities can tell that user whether they’ve been in contact with a person already infected, suspected of having the coronavirus or having been exposed to it.
Authorities understand “being in contact with someone” as in working with them, going to school with them or living in an enclosed space with them (long train or airplane trips count.)
If the user making the enquiry has ticked one of those boxes, they are advised to stay home and ask for medical help.
As much as China has been criticized for demanding personal data on its citizens, in such cases, having that database can be a life-saver – literally.
This project has been a joint effort of the General Office of the State Council, the National Health Commission, and China Electronics Technology Group Corporations.