Cebuano IT expert develops mobile app for COVID-19 contact tracing

Published March 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Minerva Newman 

CEBU CITY—A Cebuano IT expert has developed a community tracker app called “WeTrace” that is specifically designed for COVID-19 contact tracing and can be downloaded into mobile phones to help the Department of Health (DOH) and other government agencies for easy tracking and monitoring of COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas.

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(EDDIE YBAÑEZ / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Eddie Ybanez, an IT expert and chief technology officer of Payruler developed the mobile app and applied and currently waiting for its approval from Google and Apple.

Ybanez told Manila Bulletin that Google informed him for a possible approval of the app two-three days after uploading it at Google and Apple on March 21. “Hopefully, we will here from them Tuesday or Wednesday this week,” he said.

The mobile app “WeTrace.ph” once approved can be downloaded on mobile phones by any individual who wants to log in on the website, Ybanez explained that once a person uses the app, it will generate a unique QR code or a device ID number as the only identification trace of the user.

“The app does not ask for any personal/private data. No names, no photos nor any personal details of the user. What is visible is the individual’s unique ID number, nothing more, nothing less to protect his/her identity as provided for under the privacy protection law,” Ybanez said.

Once a person logs in and uses the “WeTrace” app, it will trace his/her timeline and movements including the places he/she visited and the people who were with him/her on a particular timeline, Ybanez went on and “this is specifically efficient for contact tracing those with flu-like and COVID-19 symptoms or the PUIs and PUMs to generate patient mapping.”

The app was already presented Sunday to the members of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force on Managing Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RRMC) at the Emergency Operations Center at the DOH-7 compound.

Ybañez’s team is currently working with the Cebu provincial government, Department of Health, Philippine National Police, and other concerned government agencies in Cebu on how the app will be integrated in the government’s COVID-19 response measures. The app has yet to be launched formally for public use.

Telco provides comms support to the emergency ops center in CV

The Joint Inter-Agency Task Force on Managing Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Central Visayas received

two units of mobile phones with two prepaid SIM cards and two P500 load cards from Smart Communications, Inc. for the use of its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Department of Health (DOH) Region 7.

The units were received by RDRRMC-7 Chairperson and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Marlou Salazar and Dr. Shelbay Blanco of DOH-7.

According to the OCD-7 chief of oerations. Allen Cabaron that the mobile communication units will be used for monitoring, coordination and management of resources, and consequence management.

The Joint EOC was activated Saturday after members of the IATF-MEID-7 and RDRRMC-7 convened on March 20 to discuss the joint response plan to manage and contain the emerging infectious disease COVID-19 in Central Visayas and was highlighted with the signing of the Joint Response Plan between IATF-MEID-7 and RDRRMC-7.

The Joint EOC started its operations March 21 and opens daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

 
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