Gov’t to activate with COVID-19 exposure notifications next month

Published April 19, 2021, 3:53 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

After months of delay, the government is aiming for the rollout of the, its official contact tracing program, by next month.

(Photo by Jam STA ROSA / AFP)

According to Interior and Government Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr., the online application would pave the way for fast and efficient tracing of contacts of a person with suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.

The online contact tracing tool will include the Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) system, that will inform uses of potential coronavirus exposure, according to the DILG official.

“Ang timeline naman namin dito ay next month, by May full rollout na ito sa lahat ng gobyerno at sa ating LGUs at sa ating mga establishments (Our timeline is by next month, by May, there will be a full rollout in the entire government, local government units and our establishments),” he said during an online press briefing Monday, April 19.

Since its turnover two weeks ago, Florece said the DILG has been studying the possible changes, including enhancing or removing some features of the contact tracing program.

He said the government has also secured approval from Apple and Google on the use of the exposure notification framework He said authorities were just transferring data from December 16 to March 30 and uploading them on the program.

The contact tracing program was launched by the government in September 2020 but has yet to be fully implemented due to technical issues. Many local government units and business establishments have implemented their own tracking systems instead.

Last March, the Palace admitted that contact tracing was an area that needed improvement after a flood of tracing apps has merely caused confusion.