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COVID-19 technology: Vietnam develops new healthcare applications

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

Several ministries and industries have been applying information technology in their daily operations and administrative procedure handling, following orders specified in the Prime Minister’s Direction No.16/CT-TTg.

Furthermore, several software and platforms were launched in the combat against COVID-19, a press release has said.

The cooperation between the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Health Ministry has resulted in the two healthcare support applications for both citizens and foreigners in Vietnam, the Ncovi mobile app and the Vietnam Health Declaration online portal.

Through the two programs, people travelling to the country will be able to report their current health status as they enter the country by air. With the database, the healthcare system can discover cases that need medical attention.

All information submitted through these applications is guaranteed for medical purposes only, the press release noted.

Until 17 March, there were nearly 400,000 reports received on the online health declaration website while Ncovi was downloaded more than 500,000 times from app stores for Android and iOS operating systems.

Apart from collecting valuable data for the healthcare system to handle emergencies, Ncovi is a useful channel to deliver all formal medical notices and announcements to citizens so that they can adjust their activities accordingly and effectively, the said Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Thanh Long, said.

On 18 April, Bluezone, an app aiming to protect communities against Covid-19, was officially released. This is a breakthrough in implementing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to locate a person precisely, the press release claimed.

Smartphones with BLE installed can communicate with one another within a 2-meter range, signalling a close contact with the corresponding time and duration. Therefore, in case there is a COVID-19 infected person (an F0), their contact history will be used by the Bluezone monitoring system to deliver warnings to all who have had a high risk after communicating with this F0.

Earlier this month, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) launched a website to evaluate the COVID-19 safety status of an organisation according to approved criteria sets for specific fields, along with the app An Toan DN, for both Android and iOS operating systems.

The Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Information and Communications stated that these two programs can be used by companies and household businesses to self-evaluate their own safety, while the HCMC Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control is able to collect data for a comprehensive picture of the city.

As the number of declaration, through these applications, is not high yet, state offices in HCMC are going to encourage businesses and organisations to make better use of them on their way to enter the phase of a ‘new normal; in Vietnam where socio-economic development and taking COVID-19 precautions must happen simultaneously, the release noted.

MIC has also completed a draft programme for Vietnam to change to a digital nation from now till 2025 and plan toward 2030. Last month, it submitted the draft programme to the Prime Minister for approval.

The programme lists six groups of missions and solutions which will serve as a foundation for Vietnam to build a digital government, a digital economy, and digital society.

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