October 22, 2020

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Angeles City, the Philippine intensifies COVID-19 contact tracing via app

Angeles City residents (Angelenos) may now download the digital contract tracing application StaySafe.PH on their mobile phones for free.

This came after the city government issued Executive Order No. 17, Series of 2020, requiring the public to use the application, as part of its intensified contact tracing program against the COVID-19 virus.

According to a press release, the application collates information on the users’ health condition, obtained through a 300-metre radius scan.

After downloading the application, users need to answer questions regarding their current health condition, which will then be recorded in the database. This will help identify those who have mild and severe conditions and users of the app will be able to see those who are within their 300-metre radius.

A representative noted that once the city government uploaded positive cases, the data will be shown to all users so they will be more aware and conscious of the places where they are going.

Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. appealed to all Angelenos, to be honest in answering the questions required by the app for the successful implementation of the program.

He also assured the public that information collected through the StaySafe.PH will remain safe and that the privacy of the users of the application will be protected.

The app is also expected to better mobilise the city’s response team.

Once a user reports possible COVID-19 symptoms via the StaySafe.Ph application, the Angeles City Command Center will contact the user and follow-up on their conditions. Upon further analysis and recommendation of the City Health Office, the Angeles City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office will then take action, the official said.

The Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Centre Chief, Dr Froilan Canlas, said the StaySafe.PH application will help in the city’s ongoing COVID-19 case management in hospitals.

With this app, the centre’s database will be more updated which is why the government is encouraging every hospital facility in the city to use the app, he explained.

StaySafe.PH, the national contact tracing platform, was endorsed by the National Task Force and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and currently being used by other local government units in the country.

Last month, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged all local government units to boost the digital economy and move towards digitised government transactions to reduce contact, impede further infection, and boost economic activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As OpenGov reported, the DILG Secretary, Eduardo M. Ano, also directed the units to fast track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

The millions working from home, the students looking forward to online learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting the government to address the gaps in the internet infrastructure. Therefore, the department is encouraging all LGUs to strengthen their digital platforms in their communities.

Government units must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer, which has become part of the new normal, instead of physical payment.