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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Indonesia develops surveillance app to bolster contact tracing, tracking

  • Rizki Fachriansyah and Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 30, 2020   /   10:33 am
COVID-19: Indonesia develops surveillance app to bolster contact tracing, tracking Mobile application icon of app store (Shutterstock/BigTunaOnline)

The Communications and Information Ministry, in collaboration with the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry, has developed a mobile app that enables users to compile data related to the spread of COVID-19 in their communities and help bolster the government’s efforts to trace and track confirmed cases, as well as suspected patients across the country.

The homegrown app, dubbed PeduliLindungi for the time being, cross references the data stored on its users’ mobile devices through Bluetooth connection. When a user is in the vicinity of another user whose data has been uploaded to PeduliLindungi, the app enables an anonymous exchange of identities, according to its official website.

If a user is found to have been in close proximity with confirmed suspected cases under surveillance, the app will identify them. Such a feature is expected to help fill in the blanks regarding travel history and close contacts that are vital to contact tracing and case tracking.

“PeduliLindungi respects your privacy. Your data will be encrypted and not be disclosed to any other party. Your data can only be accessed if you are likely to have been infected with COVID-19 and require immediate medical attention,” the webpage said in regard to data security.

The app, which is undergoing a stress test, will be available for download at the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store upon launch.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Agus Wibowo said the government was preparing the app’s database.

“We are preparing the system. We’ve been collecting contact details of confirmed and suspected cases. The [COVID-19] task force will track the phone numbers to learn about where they’ve been and whom they’ve met,” Agus said on Saturday.

He went on to say that the system would then send text messages to confirmed and suspected cases, reminding them to consult with a doctor.  

“The [surveillance] dashboard has been established. The tracking functionality [is enabled]. The system will probably be launched on Tuesday,” he said.

Indonesia has recorded 1,285 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 114 deaths as of Monday.