Cell phone tracking to alert people

KARACHI: The government has started a CoronaALERT text and caller ID service to educate people about the symptoms and necessary precautions to taken in order to stay safe from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has said that the text alert: “It has been observed that you may have come in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in the last 14 days. You are, therefore, requested to take necessary precautionary measures by self-quarantine,” has only been sent to selected people.

The alert service also advises that the person should contact their nearest health facility in case symptoms exhibit. PTA has said that this step has been taken upon the request Ministry of Health. The authority is taking help from the government’s Digital Pakistan program. The database identifies a phone number’s owner who has been tested positive and the places he/she has visited in the past two weeks of diagnosis. Using this information, other people who have visited the same places are warned of them being at risk of infection and advised them to isolate themselves as a precaution.

Many countries are currently using technology to track and contain the infection by identifying people through phone Bluetooth and GPS sensors. Although the information thus received is not always accurate, it can be helpful in bringing suspects on the radar of heath authorities and can be narrowed down to detect COVID-19 positive patients.