Published: 02nd April 2020
Kerala cops develop an app to detect COVID-19 hotspots in case of community spread
The app will have features to alert the users to find the nearest Corona-confirmed patient. The functioning of the app will be somewhat similar to the ones that detect speed cameras fixed on roadside
The cyber wing of the Kerala police has prepared a draft of a mobile app that could be used to detect COVID-19 hotspots in case the state drifts to community spread of the pandemic. Being built under the monitoring of the Cyberdome, the app will enable the users to identify the spots where COVID-19 cases have been reported in abundance thereby alerting the non-infected people to avoid visiting those areas.
Highly-placed sources said the app will be made functional by obtaining the mobile phone numbers of the infected people and feeding their details on to the systems. The app will have features that will alert the users to find the nearest Corona-confirmed patient. One of the senior police officers told Express that the functioning of the app will be somewhat similar to the ones that detect speed cameras fixed on roadsides. "There is no rocket science behind this app. All it requires is the google timeline, the activities of the individual android phones and the mobile phone tower location," said the officer.
The three elements will be synchronised to obtain the exact location of the patient and the app users can readily obtain this information. The department is of the feeling that the state won't be needing the app as it won't be entering a community spread phase. "However, we are taking all precautions. In such a critical situation, the individual flow chart will have no big significance. The app could be of great use then," said sources.
"The big advantage is if a person wants to get in a mall and is unsure about the level of safety, he can log onto the app and see if there are any COVID-19 patients present there. The data will empower people to act smart and safe," the officer added. However, one drawback will be that the movement of the ones who use smartphones alone can be tracked and the tracker also needs to have smartphones to do so. But the increase in number of smartphones is what keeps the police in a spot of ease.
"The smartphone penetration of the population is high in Kerala. Those who travel regularly mostly have such phones. So our job is much easier," said police sources. About 40,000 phones being tracked so far. The department has so far tracked about 40000 people in connection with preparing the flow chart of patients. In several cases, the google consented with sharing the timelines making the matters easy for the cybercops. The phones were traced to identify the close and casual contacts of the infected people.