South Africa launches free COVID-19 contact tracing app

0
225
The Tencent Holdings Ltd. WeChat app is displayed on a smartphone in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders prohibiting U.S. residents from doing business with the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps beginning 45 days from now, citing the national security risk of leaving Americans' personal data exposed. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with at least 521,318 infections diagnosed so far, accounting for more than half the continent’s cases (AFP Photo/Luca Sola)

South Africa has launched a new mobile application to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent a possible second wave of the virus, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

“Technology is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and accelerating our return to everyday life,” the department was quoted by the COVID Alert SA website as saying, adding that contact tracing is one of the most critical aspects of combating COVID-19.

COVID Alert South Africa is a cutting-edge mobile application that uses the Exposure Notification system created by Apple and Google in line with global best practices. It uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have been in contact with coronavirus, including strangers in retail stores, in public transport, or in any public space.

“It gives everyone the chance to understand their exposure to the virus so that we can protect every member of the community, especially those most at risk,” said the website.

“It is an important tool to combating the pandemic, as it can help slow the spread of the virus and save lives,” it said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also welcomed the launch of the app, saying it is “a significant milestone in our country’s fight against coronavirus, and will play an important role in preventing a second wave of infections.”

“The more South Africans download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the second wave of COVID-19 infection,” said the president.

“But even as we use the app, we must still wear cloth masks, wash or sanitize our hands regularly, maintain social distancing, and take all other precautions to keep safe,” he added.

As of Wednesday, South Africa has recorded more than 630,000 COVID-19 cases, with 14,389 deaths, according to the department.

Leave a Reply