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Indian smart city launches IT initiatives against COVID-19

The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has started several IT initiatives in the fight against COVID-19.

The city developed the SMC COVID-19 Tracker System that includes a web portal and mobile application, the SMC COVID-19 Tracker. The system tracks people who have abroad or interstate travel history, or who have met other people that tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a press release, the details of travellers and other individuals are collected through various sources like the self-declaration form on the SMC website, calls received on helpline number or international traveller information received by the government.

Through the self-declaration form on the website, individuals can submit their details including travel history or if they have met COVID-19 patients.

When they submit their information, the users receive a unique tracker ID and are asked to download the mobile tracker application, the release added.

SMC has also created a helpline number where citizens can share information about travellers or potential COVID-19 carriers. The details are verified by the SMC team, which include health professionals. A field team visits the location and if the details provided from the helpline are verified, the individual is asked to home quarantine. They also must download the tracker application.

Users are required to fill in a questionnaire twice a day through the app regarding their health. Three questions are given in the questionnaire asking individuals if they have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

With this questionnaire, the user must send in a photo of themselves. If a person has one of the symptoms, a follow-up is done over the phone and if required, individuals are asked to visit a nearby health facility for a check-up or treatment.

After the app is installed, individuals send their location every hour to confirm that they are following home quarantine rules regularly. The SMC team monitors the location history of individuals if any individual is found not following the home quarantine guidelines.

For every individual asked to stay in-home quarantine, the SMC team carries out a daily house-to-house follow-up, which is recorded on the system.

If a user has developed symptoms during home quarantine and has been shifted to a hospital, the team identifies suspects through contact tracing. If the person admitted to hospital is found positive, the contacts are asked to follow quarantine.

Necessary MIS reports are prepared in the system and new reports are being developed as per the requirements of the health department.

Currently, around 3,800 individual details are entered in the system and more than 2,800 people are using the mobile app to send their locations every hour and to submit their health checkup questionnaires twice a day.

The system developed by SMC was reviewed by the local government of Gujarat, which is considering implementing the same for the entire state, the release said.

OpenGov recently reported on another Indian smart city’s measures to mitigate the impacts of the virus. The Ajmer city’s municipal corporation (AMC) set up a COVID-19 ‘war room’, which is headed by senior Ajmer administrative officials, medical professionals, and police officers to monitor the situation.

The city uses PA systems to spread awareness about the virus and provide updates from AMC’s fire and sanitation departments. Regular surprise field visits are organised by the city collector and commissioner to review the groundwork and take feedback from the citizens directly.

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