Contact Tracing

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Many countries are now using technology in addition to manual track and tracing to help control the spread of the virus, in particular, in trying to prevent a second wave.  When the number of people carrying the virus gets below the level where the country is able to test sufficiently, an app can be used to help locate anyone who has been in contact with an infected person.

How does it work

The app is downloaded on any smart phone and the movements of that phone are recorded by a central server. If someone develops symptoms they must take a COVID-19 test and if the test is positive the app sends instructions to all those who have been within 2m of that phone for more than 15 minutes with instructions to self isolate and take a test.

The success of the app depends on:

  • At least 60% of the population downloading the app

  • Having sufficient testing available so anyone can get a test

  • Getting test results back as quickly as possible

  • Those who are contacted acting responsibly

However there are some potential issues with the apps, including:

  • Data privacy issues

  • Bluetooth problems

  • Centralised vs local data

  • Individual's response to the text 

With mutations and new variants a threat to vaccine rollout, genomic sequencing followed by contact tracing and surge testing becomes more and more important.