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Case Study

BlueZone App: A Breakthrough Of Technology in Covid-19 Era

As of June 2021, Vietnam had reported 8,063 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 3,085 instances recovered and a total of 49 deaths. This success has been attributed to several critical factors, including a well-developed public health system, a decisive central government, and a proactive containment strategy based on comprehensive testing, tracing, and quarantining. In April 2020, BlueZone – an app designed for tracking The ‘F-System’ of Targeted Isolation (F0, F1, F2, etc.) was introduced with great success with millions of installs in Vietnam.

Follow us and learn more on how BlueZone helps Vietnam fights against the dreadful global pandemic – Covid-19.

1. What Is BlueZone?

Bluezone, a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come into contact with a Covid-19 patient, has got the Vietnamese government’s approval. The contract tracing app was developed by technology firm Bkav and the Ministry of Information and Communications was briefed about it in mid-April.

2. How BlueZone Helps Vietnamese Government Against Covid-19?

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The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy, a wireless personal area network technology, to link with smartphones within a two-meter distance. It will notify its users if they came within two meters of a Covid-19 patient in the past 14 days.

When there is a new case of Covid-19, health authorities will enter the patient’s information into a system that will send that data to smartphones installed with Bluezone to track the patient’s history in the previous 14 days. So that people can avoid “hotspot” or go to the hospital rightaway if they have been in afore mentioned infected area through the app notification.

In short, the app alerts users if they are at risk of infection and instructs them to contact health authorities.

3. BlueZone & Technological Advancements In The Fight Against The Global Pandemic

“Bluezone is a new breakthrough step in using technology to prevent diseases. The breakthrough is that the government does not have to collect people’s information, and that information is stored on individuals’ phones. The application helps identify potential patients, avoid community transmission and prevent unnecessary mass quarantine.”

“We are not the first country to use this solution, but our application is able to solve the basic errors in software in other countries.” – Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung

The reaction to the Covid-19 epidemic is heavily reliant on smartphone apps. These apps are being used to track infected persons, give self-quarantine directives, provide residents with the most up-to-date information, and relieve the pressure on healthcare workers. Millions of individuals have downloaded the apps throughout the world, from South Korea to Poland.

The European Union intends to launch its app and has given recommendations in this regard. In addition, apple and Google, two Silicon Valley digital behemoths, have teamed up to create an app that will help healthcare companies.

3.1. TraceTogether (Singapore)

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Anyone with a Singapore cell number and a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone can download TraceTogether, a popular smartphone software. It’s a contact tracing tool that uses Bluetooth to track infected persons and alert individuals close to them in the previous 15 days.

The app does not collect information about your GPS location or your Wi-Fi or mobile network connection. Instead, both phones will use Bluetooth to exchange a Temporary ID when two persons using the app are close to one other. This Temporary ID is created by encrypting the User ID with a Ministry of Health private key (MOH). MOH is the only one who can decrypt it, and it does not betray your or the other person’s identity.

The software was created in partnership with the Ministry of Health by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech). It has since become a model for many other contact tracing apps worldwide.

3.2. CovidWatch (USA)

CovidWatch, which was created in partnership with Stanford University, allows users to safeguard themselves and their communities without compromising their privacy. It detects users when they are close to each other via Bluetooth signals and notifies them anonymously if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Any third party, including the government, will be unable to monitor who was revealed by whom, which is a unique app feature – one of the first programs to publish an open-source protocol for decentralized, privacy-preserving Bluetooth contact tracing.

3.3. HaMagen (Israel)

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The software, which Israel’s Ministry of Health launched, uses contact tracing to stop the spread of the fatal virus. The software tells users whether they were close to somebody who has been diagnosed with the virus in the last 15 days.

After a user downloads the program, his movements are recorded using location technology, and the data obtained are matched to ministry data on those diagnosed.

If it is discovered that a user was in close contact with an infected individual, the app refers the user to the Ministry of Health’s website, where he can register for self-quarantine.

3.4. The Corona DataSpende (Germany)

This German wristwatch program tracks coronavirus transmission by gathering vital indications from volunteers using a smartwatch or fitness tracker, such as heart rate, body temperature, and sleep habits.

It determines whether or not they have had any Covid-19 symptoms. The data are then shown on an online interactive map, allowing health officials to assess the situation and identify hotspots.

3.5. Aarogya Setu (Idia)

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Aarogya Setu has been downloaded by more than 50 million people in just 13 days, making it the most popular app for tracking Covid-19 in the world.

The Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT created the app to alert users if they have crossed paths with someone who has been diagnosed positive. The tracking is done using Bluetooth and a location-generated graph that shows how close you are to someone who has been infected.

Users must turn on their Bluetooth and Location sharing after the software is installed and keep them turned on at all times for optimal tracking. A self-testing feature is also included in the app. The user must answer a few questions, and if the answers reflect coronavirus symptoms, the data is transferred to government systems.

Self-quarantine instructions are also included in the program. On both the Android and iOS platforms, Aarogya Setu is accessible in 11 languages.

3.6. Covid Symptom Tracker (UK)

This software was created in collaboration with a private healthcare company named Zoe Global by doctors and researchers at King’s College London and St. Thomas hospitals. The program tracks how the virus spreads and analyses the illness’s symptoms for advanced research.

Based on health circumstances, the scientists look at high-risk places in the UK, viral dissemination speed, and the most vulnerable population. The software complies with GDPR, and data is solely used for healthcare research, not for commercial purposes.

3.7. NHS Smartphone App (UK)

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The NHS (National Health Service), England’s publicly funded national healthcare system, is currently developing a contact tracing app. The app is being developed by NHSX, the NHS’s innovation branch, and will be released soon. Matt Hannock, the British health secretary, has urged people to download the app once available.

The app would track people’s movements and alert those who come into close touch with sick individuals. Experts believe that by analyzing viral propagation patterns and hotspots, the app will aid in the relaxation of lockdown.

In addition, it would classify information based on demography, household structures, and mobility patterns, allowing the most significant number of people to roam freely.

3.8. Let’s Beat Covid-19

LetsBeatCOVID.net is a website that allows public members to take a brief survey about their health and COVID-19 exposure for health services to save more lives. It was created by MedShr, a diagnostics app used by over a million doctors. The public is requested to complete a brief anonymous survey about themselves and information about their family members.

3.9. PeduliLindungi (Indonesia)

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The app, which was developed by the Indonesian Communications and Information Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), allows users to collect data on the spread of COVID-19 in their communities and aid the government’s efforts to track confirmed cases and those suspected of being infected with the virus.

It uses Bluetooth to cross-reference data stored on a mobile device. In addition, according to the app’s official website, when a user is near another user whose data has been uploaded to PeduliLindungi, the app allows for anonymous exchange of identities.

3.10. Kwarantanna Domowa (Poland)

In its fight against the pandemic, Poland was one of the first Western governments to launch a smartphone app that collects reams of personal data, including people’s location and digital images.

When officials ask for selfies, users use this app to upload them to determine their exact location. In addition, anyone who has developed coronavirus symptoms must now take it. In English, the app is called “Home Quarantine.”

4. Conclusion

In diagnosing individuals afflicted, detecting hotspots, and receiving real-time updates, technology has come to aid. While there is a concern about data privacy, most app developers are now attempting to implement safeguards to protect user privacy.

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