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COVID-19: HPA launches online application for 'contact tracing'

Shahudha Mohamed
30 April 2020, MVT 16:45
Locals and expatriates around the Male' local market shortly after lockdown was imposed in the capital. As part of the COVID-19 response, HPA launched 'TraceEkee' to help in the 'contact tracing' process. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
30 April 2020, MVT 16:45

Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Wednesday, introduced an online application that aims to mitigate community spread of COVID-19 in Maldives through detailed 'contact tracing'.

According to HPA, the app 'TraceEkee' was launched to reinforce the COVID-19 response by proactively identifying the close contacts of positive cases.

Tweet by Health Protection Agency (HPA) with the link to download the application. PHOTO: TWITTER

The app, which comes with a proximity range of approximately 10 meters, is based on the BlueTrace protocol system, used and open-sourced by Singapore.

Since it's initial development by the Singaporean government for the TraceTogether app as a response for the COVID-19 pandemic, the protocol has been adopted by Australia, with countries such as New Zealand also considering it for adoption.

Tweet by one of the creators of 'Trace Ekee'. PHOTO: TWITTER

One of the creators of the app Jawish Hameed assured that 'TraceEkee' does not log the users exact location but only their proximity to other users. He added that the proximity data is stored and encrypted and only sent to HPA when the user explicitly authorises and chooses to send it.

Since the application works best when as many as possible are using the app, HPA and the app developers encourage everyone to install and activate 'TraceEkee'.

The mobile application is currently only available for android devices, but the creators assure that iOS application will be launched as soon as the AppStore review is completed.

Malé, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 since recording its first local transmission on April 15. A Maldivian woman who sought assistance from a flu clinic in Malé after developing symptoms tested positive for the virus.

On Sunday, the country confirmed 73 new cases—the highest number of positive confirmations reported within a single day.

Presently, Maldives records 280 confirmed, 262 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 17 recoveries. The country recorded its first virus death, an 83-year-old local female, on Wednesday evening.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 3.2 million people and claimed over 228,520 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 1,007,653 people have recovered.

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