Coronavirus: NHS Contact Tracing App to Target 80% Of Smartphone Users

BY CYBER POLE | Updated April 17, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly affected people globally. With the rise in the spread, authorities are trying best to develop the scope of technology to stop the virus. Oxford University’s Big Data Institute has designed to see the impact by simulating app on a city of over a million people. Even with the lower uptake, the app will be beneficial to delay the spread. Moreover, the app pops up a few on-screen questionnaires which further judges about the risk of infection. This would also alert people with proximity and further alarm about the possibility of infection. 

This model lets people go back into self-isolation, therefore, delaying the spread in the long run. Experts claim that this could make a huge difference in controlling the epidemic however, with the speed of essence, even a day’s delay can further rise resurgence. Therefore, contact tracing can change the graph of the spread.

What is Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the most common process to stop the spread of disease by identifying the disease carrier and further alerting those who have come in contact with the infected source of coronavirus. Here smartphones play a significant role in determining whether a person has come in proximity to the infected person or not. 

What Are the Measures

The university has come up with its digital innovation unit NHSX which plans to design app for contact-tracing. As of now, the model has approved various platform for different age groups, household, movement patterns and structures to make research smoother. Once launched, people can use the platform for maximum movement.

Prof Fraser form Oxford University even claims to introduce the app at the end of lockdown however, once you install it, the app will need a few days recording the required data to become functional. Unlike common application system which uses GPS and QR scanning codes, this system plans to use Bluetooth signals in identifying possible infections.

Tracking COVID-19

Tracking can be efficient if over 56% of the general population uses the app. Although it is a tough task, the intervention form the public health staffs can bring the result. Likewise, it is expected that more than 80% of people would download the app if explained about its benefits. Still, with fewer downloads, the spread can be averted by 1%.

Singapore becomes the first country to apply the system of voluntary contract tracing app on March 20. However, only 12% of the total population installed the app, Trace Together. In the context of the UK, a humble number of phone users lack Bluetooth Low Energy system likewise, to counter such problem, officials plan to provide smartphones to such users.

On the other side, tech law expert Prof Lillian Edwards has drafted a law for safeguarding citizen’s right.

  • A Coronavirus Safeguard Committee to act as a watchdog
  • Necessary consent for sharing data  beyond the coronavirus treatment
  • Any implication passed must be legitimate and proportionate for defeating the coronavirus through public support