Finnish COVID-19 tracking app ready for use in June: developer

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-07 02:17:23|Editor: huaxia

HELSINKI, May 6 (Xinhua) -- A smartphone-based application (app) designed to help healthcare professionals track COVID-19 infection chains will be ready for use in Finland in June, national broadcaster Yle reported on Wednesday.

The application will be tested two weeks from now in the hospital district of Vaasa in western Finland, said Sampo Pasanen, managing director of Reaktor Finland, in an interview with Yle. Reaktor, a Finnish company offering information technology (IT) expert services, is one of the app's developers.

Using Bluetooth technology, the app anonymously records encounters between its voluntary users to make the identification of infection chains faster and more accurate and to reduce the workload of healthcare staff.

The app will "see" when a user spends time within two meters of another user for more than 15 minutes. If one of those individuals is infected, the application will help health authorities identify those in close contact with the infected, according to Pasanen.

He explained that the app compiles a list of users the person has been near to, but that information is not forwarded to health officials until one of the users tests positive for the disease.

If a user tests positive for the novel coronavirus, he or she will be given a code to feed into the application, which will forward the saved contact data to the health authorities, who in turn will notify the potentially infected users.

The app will be free to download on mobile devices, but its effectiveness will depend on the number of people who install and use it.

Eeva Ruotsalainen, deputy chief physician at the infectious diseases division of Helsinki University Central Hospital, told Yle that she believed the application will be of great help in tracking infection chains. She said that infection chains are being traced in close cooperation with municipalities.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Finland had confirmed 5,573 COVID-19 cases, of which 161 are new. Nearly 3,500 people have recovered while 252 have died, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Enditem.