October 22, 2020

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COVID-19 risk assessment mobile app launched in Thailand

Mor Chana, a mobile app, has been launched in Thailand. The mobile app is the outcome of the collaboration between multiple private and state organisations.

It serves as a tool to help people assess their coronavirus infection risk, assist health authorities in tracking users in close contact with infected people and prevent transmission among healthcare workers.

Anuchit Anuchitanukul, from the app development team, said, “It took two weeks to develop the app with collaboration from volunteers, citizens and the private and public sectors, all who wish to support physicians and medical teams who serve as the front-line warriors in the fight against COVID-19.”

The app aids in identifying individuals who could have been exposed to virus patients using GPS and Bluetooth technology to track their location.

With the app, health authorities would be able to identify individuals who have been in close contact with infected people.

This could also help prevent medical practitioners from contracting the disease.

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) will use artificial intelligence (AI) systems to analyse data collected from the app to aid in epidemiological studies.

Data from the app will be processed by the DDC iLAB analytic platform, which combines epidemiology analysis and AI technology to identify users who may be in proximity to infected people, said Sutthipong Phanthanalai, who developed DDC iLAB.

The app is also useful to the population large. General app users who are not medical professionals can use the app to locate the risk areas and adjust their travel plans accordingly.

“This contact tracing approach will play a significant role in containing the spread of COVID-19,” Digital Economy and Society Minister, Buddhipongse Punnakanta, said.  “It needs citizens to contribute to society by downloading it to help stop the viral spread and mitigate wider social and economic impacts.”

The software developer group Code for Public and a group of software and data analysis specialists known as Chuay Kan Group helped build the app. They were supported by educational institutions, hospitals, public health authorities and other public and private organisations.

The app was built by the Code for Public, a software developer group, and Chuay Kan Group, a team of software and data analysis specialists.

Educational institutes, hospitals, public health authorities, and public and private organisations added support to the effort.

The app can be downloaded at https://morchana.app.link/download, as well as via Android’s Play Store and the iOS App Store.

The app’s registration is done anonymously. Registrants can use only their mobile phone number for the process.

They have to answer health assessment questions and receive risk level results shown in four colours: green (lowest risk), yellow (low risk), orange (risk) and red (high risk).

Risk level assessment can reduce the number of health professionals who contract the virus, particularly from patients who are not forthcoming.

Mor Chana app has layers of privacy safeguards. Data collected through the app is stored and displayed in an anonymous form.

Users will be asked to share these records only when contacted by the authorities as part of contact tracing investigations.

Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Digital Economy and Society Minister, assured citizens that all logs would be deleted immediately after the crisis ends

He also confirmed that the app was in strict compliance with privacy and data protection laws.

An independent committee will be set up to monitor the data management process and ensure that procedures comply with conditions stipulated in the Personal Data Protection Act.