PolyU develops contact tracing app to help control the spread of COVID-19 when borders reopen
A research study by the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics at PolyU, which is built on an epidemic model with 50% vaccination coverage, has found that digital contact tracing can reduce the infectious population by 84.7% when borders reopen.
One of the key recommendations drawn from the study is that contact tracing is an effective measure for reducing local virus spread, especially when it is applied along with social distancing and vaccination measures.
Professor Chen Wu, Head and Professor of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics at PolyU, explained that contact tracing is an influential factor in controlling the spread because all the necessary pandemic control measures would not be promptly carried out without effective tracing against confirmed cases and identifying their close contacts.
The research team has also developed a mobile app, designed for use by inbound travellers, with a contact tracing feature that would help fight the pandemic when borders reopen.
Utilising the Global Navigation Satellite System, Bluetooth Low Energy and Data Analysis Technology, the mobile app is designed not only for users to record individual locations they have visited but more importantly to help users identify whether they have had close contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
Professor Chen remarked, “Contact tracing is key to effectively controlling the spread of the virus when borders reopen and the mobile app we designed for use by inbound travellers would serve as a possible solution. Furthermore, the app can be adapted for incorporating into other apps as an add-on feature.”