Sarawak deploys two mobile apps used for contact tracing

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 30 May 2020

New kid on the block: The CovidTrace app will not reveal the user’s identity to other users.

KUCHING: Sarawak is deploying two mobile apps to trace persons who have come into contact with those suspected or confirmed with Covid-19, to contain the outbreak.

The CovidTrace app facilitates digital contact tracing while the Qmunity app assists local authorities to track the movement of people for contact tracing purposes.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the apps were important digital tools for tracing people within the vicinity of a Covid-19 infection.

“The CovidTrace app will help us to trace close contacts and mitigate a second wave.

“The Qmunity app is meant for the business community to get the contact details of customers digitally,” he said when launching both apps at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.

Abang Johari noted that customers were required to provide their contact details before entering business premises as part of the standard operating procedures (SOP) during the conditional movement control order (MCO).

With the Qmunity app, he said, they could scan a QR code instead of writing down their details.

“The data will be managed by the local authorities for the purpose of tracing contacts where necessary.”

The Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), which developed CovidTrace in collaboration with Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (Sains), said the app uses Bluetooth to record the duration of encounters between its users.

When one of the users is identified as a person under investigation (PUI) or confirmed positive for Covid-19, the data can be retrieved by the state Health Department with the user’s consent to trace those who had come into contact with him.

“Your encounter records are encrypted and safely stored on your phone. To prevent fraud, an authorised officer will provide a verification code and validation PIN for uploading the encounter history.

“With your consent, the health authority can use your records to trace your encounters,” SMA said in a statement, adding that the encounter records were only used for Covid-19-related interventions.

As the app can only detect another CovidTrace user, SMA said the key to its effectiveness was for as many people as possible to install and run it whenever they went out.

It added that the app does not collect location data or reveal the user’s identity or phone number to other users.

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