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COVID-19 WATCH

Firms, PUV told: Use contact tracing app

StaySafePH has an exposure notification feature that will inform users if they interacted with a COVID-19 patient.

MJ Blancaflor

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Business establishments and public transportation units are now required to use the StaySafePH application to boost the country’s contract tracing efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang announced Friday.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved Thursday Resolution 87, which requires private firms to adopt the country’s official contact tracing app.

The order came a week after the IATF ordered all departments and agencies at both national and local level to use StaySafePH amid criticisms that the Philippines “remains weak” in tracking down individuals who had a physical interaction with COVID-19 patients.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the task force approved proposals to implement the Safety Seal Certification Program.

The requirements to secure a Safety Seal include the use of the StaySafePH application and the generation of its QR Code to be “displayed in all entrances,” Roque said.

“All establishments, such as government offices, private companies, hotels and business establishments and public transportation units are thus required to adopt the Safety Seal,” he added.

Roque, citing the IATF resolution, said the departments of trade, health, labor, local government, tourism, and transportation will issue a joint memorandum circular detailing the Safety Seal requirements.

Developed by MultiSys Technology Corporation, StaySafePH has an exposure notification feature that will inform users if they interacted with a COVID-19 patient.

Just like in a printed health declaration form, users will be asked to state whether they experienced COVID-19 symptoms to determine their health condition.

The app, formally launched in September, can be accessed through its website or downloaded by iOS or Android users.

StaySafePH was previously met with privacy concerns, but the government and its developer have assured the public that the system has safeguards against misuse.

The IATF has previously ordered MultiSys to turn over all data collected in StaySafePH to the Department of Health, including the app’s source code, data ownership, and intellectual property rights.

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