Apple google team up for COVID-19 tracking app
Apple and Google made this announcement on Friday. This is their attempt to leverage technology into containing the spread of the virus further. This app will be available for both android and iPhone users. The app will make use of the Bluetooth technology, which is already available in mobile phones, and keep track of all phones that a person comes into contact with within one day. The app will also allow an infected person to alert other people and thus prevent the virus from spreading. In this way, people will self- isolate themselves to avoid infection from spreading further.
Apps like these, apart from the apparent reason for curbing the spread of the virus, will also help governments lift the lockdown earlier so that people could return to their regular schedules. It will help authorities identify clusters of infected persons quickly before the entire area turns into a hotspot.
However, the creation of such an app has also raised privacy concerns among individuals. “No contact-tracing app can be fully effective until there is widespread, free and quick testing and equitable access to healthcare,” Jennifer Granick, the surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the ACLU, said.
She added, “People will only trust these systems if they protect privacy, remain voluntary, and store data on an individual’s device, not a centralized repository.” Apple and google tried to allay such privacy threats by stating that the protection of privacy of the users is a part of their pact and plan.
Before this announcement by Google and Apple, several countries like Singapore, Italy, and Germany were already in the process of developing their tracing apps. China and Singapore had gone a step further and had already tested these apps raising questions on their effectiveness.
TikTok extends $250 million help for corona relief workers
Alex Zhu, the president of the Chinese mobile app, went on to announce on Thursday that his company- TikTok will be donating $250 million to organizations working for providing relief to corona affected areas.
These funds are aimed at aiding educators, frontline workers in the medical field, and local organizations and communities that have been severely hit due to the pandemic.
The financial aid has been divided into three segments- $150 million would be extended to Health HeroesRelief Fund, which will support all medical staff, medical charities, and provide supplies that are needed.
Zhu said on Thursday, “We will be providing $50 million in grants to educators to help spread educational information in a distance learning format.” And $40 million will be provided to local organizations consisting of nurses, musicians, and families.
Tiktok is already helping local communities, and helpers distribute masks and other safety equipment in nations like India, Indonesia, South Korea, and the United States.
Drive- through COVID-19 testing facility launched in Gurugram
A drive- through hassle-free sample collection center has been set up in Gurugram, Haryana. Vinay Pratap Singh, the Municipal Corporation Commissioner, said that the screening of all suspected patients would be done free of any charges. “One can apply for the test by filling details online. The patient can reach the spot by driving himself/herself or can be accompanied by another person. It takes about 1-2 minutes to collect nasal or throat swab, and the reports will be given online in no time. It is, however, compulsory for those who want to be tested for COVID-19 to obtain a prescription from a registered medical practitioner,” Vinay Singh said on Saturday.
This facility has been started in collaboration with the Healthians testing group in Gurugram itself.
Once this becomes successful, there are plans to launch more such initiatives throughout the city. Such drive through facilities were already operational in the Punjabi Bagh area in Delhi.
States have become more alert in providing testing facilities as India saw a sudden rise in the number of coronavirus cases last week.