How cellphone technology will boost fight against coronavirus

31 March 2020 - 16:04 By Naledi Shange
Health workers will be able to track the movements of those affected by the coronavirus using their cellphones.
Health workers will be able to track the movements of those affected by the coronavirus using their cellphones.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

Cellphone technology will be used to help health workers track and trace people infected with Covid-19 and their contacts.

Speaking on radio 702 on Tuesday, health department deputy director-general Dr Yogan Pillay said: “We are working with Telkom to develop a solution where the community health workers will get the telephone numbers and physical locations of people who have tested positive, as well as their contacts.

“They will then be able to go into communities and track and trace using electronic communication, rather than it being paper-based.

“We will also the be able to get a sense of the movement of people as well [to track the virus]. The information will then again come to a central point. Then we can see the way in which the disease is spreading.”

Pillay added that they would use technology to ensure that communities where the virus had not been detected remained unaffected.

This comes as the government has grappled with tracking down some people who have been tested by private laboratories. Some who have tested positive recently have flouted the rules and refused to stay in self-quarantine. 

In one incident, the Gauteng health department went to court to forcefully get a family who tested positive for Covid-19 put into quarantine. The mother and daughter had tested positive but the husband refused to be tested and left the hospital without swabs being taken. They refused to be quarantined.

In another incident, an Alexandra resident who tested positive travelled to Limpopo, allegedly by taxi. 


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