What is contact tracing?


Contact tracing helps prevent the spread of a virus by proactively finding people at higher risk than others due to potential exposure, notifying them if possible, and quarantining them if necessary. When a person is diagnosed with Covid-19, they are asked whom they have been in contact with over the previous weeks, both in order to determine who may have been infected by them and perhaps where they themselves were infected. Until very recently, however, the process has relied heavily on the recall of people who are in a highly stressful situation and, until prompted, were probably not paying special attention to their movements and interactions. Bluetooth, which has a short range by design, less than 30 feet for good reception and with a swiftly attenuating signal that makes it unlikely to catch a stray contact from much further out than that. The type of contact tracing being tested and deployed around the world now uses Bluetooth signals, the difference is it just doesn’t automatically forget the other devices it comes into contact with. The system they have suggested uses Bluetooth as described above, but importantly does not tie it to a person’s identity in any way. A phone would have a temporary ID number of its own, and as it made contact with other devices, it exchanges numbers. These lists of ID numbers are collected and stored locally, not synced with the cloud or anything. And the numbers also change frequently so no single one can be connected to your device or location. If and only if a person is determined to be infected with the virus, a hospital (not the person) is authorized to activate the contact tracing app, which will send a notification to all the ID numbers stored in the person’s phone. The notification will say that they were recently near a person now diagnosed with COVID-19 — again, these are only ID numbers generated by a phone and are not connected with any personal information. The notification they receive will contain information on what the affected person can do next: Download an app or call a number for screening, for instance, or find a nearby location for testing. The ease, quickness, and comprehensiveness of this contact tracing method make it an excellent opportunity to help stem the spread of the virus In Singapore the TraceTogether app was promoted by the government as the official means for contact tracing. South Korea saw the voluntary adoption of a handful of apps that tracked people known to be diagnosed. Taiwan was able to compare data from its highly centralized healthcare system to a contact tracing system it began work on during the SARS outbreak years ago. And mainland China has implemented a variety of tracking procedures through mega-popular services like WeChat and Alipay. Hence, we recommend you to download Arogya Setu app, which is a mobile application developed by the Government of India to connect essential health services with the people of India in our combined fight against COVID-19. The App is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Government of India, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19.

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