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SoCot developing contact tracing app



South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. (Facebook image)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato is developing a mobile application that would help speed up the tracing of people who might be exposed to persons infected with the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said the province’s information technology department is currently working on the application and targeting its rollout before businesses in the province will start to normalize.

Tamayo said the app will be deployed in business establishments that will open once the local government decides to ease the movement restrictions and the enhanced community quarantine.

He said all persons entering the establishments, especially shopping malls, will be logged into a database to facilitate faster contact-tracing in case one of them will eventually turn out positive of Covid-19.

“We’re working on a system that can be deployed in tablets and cell phones,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Tamayo said the system will be complemented later by the rollout of the planned province-wide identification or ID system.

In February, Tamayo directed the purchase of ID makers to print “common ID cards” for every resident of the province. The IDs may be used to log into the system when entering the establishments and their assigned numbers will be recorded in the database.

The logs will include the date and time when a person enters a specific business establishment, Tamayo said.

“It will be useful, for instance in a drug store, when one of the customers would test positive for Covid-19. Through the database, we can trace everyone who was catered in a specific period that the patient was there,” he said.

The availability of a reliable contact tracing system was among the four major criteria earlier set by the provincial government in considering the possible reopening of the local economy after the end of the quarantine period on April 30.

The other considerations are the “flattening of the curve” or the reduction of Covid-19 cases for 14 days, availability of the patient care center in case of an outbreak and, the availability of medical front-liners and personal protective equipment.

As of Thursday evening, the Integrated Provincial Health Office said a total of 135 suspect Covid-19 patients are being monitored within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

It listed zero probable cases so far and one recovery out of the three confirmed Covid-19 patients in the area.

p: wjg