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Thai agencies develop apps to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Thailand’s leading tech pioneers and research institutes are seeking ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through the use of a mobile app, high-performance computing, machine learning and material science.

The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) and the Department of Disease Control (DDC) developed a mobile app allowing people put under quarantine to self-assess their health conditions.

This app will be called “VWatch”, the President of NSTDA stated. It is expected to be rolled out within the next two weeks. The app helps people under quarantine fill in the information, which will be promptly reported to the DDC.

As for NSTDA, the agency will leverage its technological capabilities for epidemic crisis management as well as increase health safety measures and boost partnership to overcome this crisis.

“If those under quarantine report they have a fever and other risky symptoms, they will be picked up and sent to the hospital quickly,” the President stated.

NSTDA also provides high-performance computing resources for research hospitals and the startup community, offering free access for Covid-19 data assessment.

Also, NSTDA plans to offer machine learning tools for health research institutes for CT scans of patients’ lungs.

Material science, such as composite coating of hydroxyapatite and titanium dioxide, will be applied for health safety as they can be used as a fourth layer in face masks.

This can help filter viruses by 99%, Mr Narong said, citing a lab test. Initially, some 400,000 masks will have such coatings as there is still short supply in the market.

Meanwhile, the President of Thailand Tech Startup Association (TTSA) said it has informally worked with 20-30 local startups to leverage staff and tech resources while ensuring those with possible infection are kept at bay.

They also offer services that help people stay at home.

Many services from startups, including a telehealth consulting platform, medicine delivery and food delivery could ensure at-risk groups stay at home during the outbreak.

The use of DDC data will continue as a tool to evaluate the risk of Covid-19 infected people to protect staff and customers. TTSA plans to work with government agencies for open digital platform and data exchange.

The Chief Executive of another Thai firm stated that the company offers free consulting services for a legal framework to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act in the Covid-19 environment.

Startups and state agencies involved with personal data need to have consent for data collection. They need to be held accountable when data breaches or data misuse happen.

Thai ministry works with tech firms to push work-from-home solution

According to another report, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is working with the private sector to promote working from home for employees as a solution to ensure seamless business operations amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Minister of the DES stated that his ministry is cooperating with private partners to develop and customise tools that enable people to work from home seamlessly and reduce the need to go out and risk the new coronavirus that has affected several industries in Thailand.

These partners include six internet service providers and three software developers.

The minister added that selected government agencies will take part in a pilot project

It was noted that Internet and software providers have agreed to provide free services for six months that will cover the documentation system, the file storage system, video conference and other office administrative tasks.

The DES will also monitor the privacy and security of personal and sensitive information over this working-at-home network to ensure that the original privacy policy can still be maintained.

The agency has been strictly following measures announced by the Ministry of Public Health in preventing and controlling the spread of Covid-19, and they hope that the working-from-home solution will help reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the workplace while enabling businesses to move forward in the current situation.

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