China has released a mobile app that is supposed to inform people if they have come into contact with the coronavirus and could be at risk for contracting it.
The “close contact detector,” released Saturday evening, has users scan a QR code and submit their name, phone number and ID number to find out if they’ve come into close contact with someone infected with the virus while traveling on planes, trains or buses, according to a state news report.
Those who are at risk are advised to stay home and get in touch with local health authorities, state news agency Xinhua reported.
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The report did not say how the app works, only that it received support from Chinese government agencies such as the National Health Commission “to ensure accurate, reliable and authoritative data.”
China operates a vast surveillance system. ID cards are required to travel by train and long distance on buses.
The coronavirus has infected more than 40,000 people around the world, killing more than 1,000. The vast majority of cases are in China, which reported a rise in new cases Monday.
China’s National Health Commission says close contact s being near someone who is suspected of being infected or who has been confirmed as infected without adequate protection.
That could mean roommates in the same house, colleagues in the same office or classmates in the same classroom or medical staff who’ve been in contact with infected patients.
On a flight, passengers in the same row as an infected person as well as three rows in front and behind that person would be considered in close contact, Xinhua reported. In a fully enclosed air-conditioned train, all the passengers and crew members in the same compartment would be considered in close contact, Xinhua reported.
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