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Latvia is going to launch a COVID-19 contact tracing app based on the technology developed by Google and Apple.
Latvia is on track to become one of the few countries currently that has a COVID-19 contact tracing app. The app will be launched using a new toolkit made by Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google LLC (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL).
Apple’s iPhone has stood in the way of success for early versions of such apps. The iPhone apparently doesn’t support the use of Bluetooth as a means for measurement of infection risk.
New COVID-19 Contact Tracing App Uses a Different Approach
The Latvian approach is from a different perspective. The Latvian “Apturi COVID” (Stop COVID) works primarily with the Google and Apple toolkit. The iOS and Android mobile operating systems work on about 99% of all smartphones.
The app developers said in a statement:
“The developers believe that reliance on this standard will ensure widespread adoption and also compatibility over time with contact tracing apps around the world that are also expected to adopt the same exposure notification framework,”
Apple and Google have had various issues developing such an app. Hardware compatibility of the various smartphones has been an issue.
The app will first work within the radius of the 2-million strong nation. Other nations will also be able to join in. This will be based on information sharing with other national apps.
This approach is similar to that of other European nations. Estonia, Switzerland, and Germany are working on a framework that allows their national apps to share information.
Technology Can Help in the Fight Against COVID-19
This kind of functionality will enable such an app to work once a user travels abroad. it will allow for the exchange of information on infection risk in other climes.
Similar in function to roaming, the approach will allow for multinational-planning from nations. Restrictions can be eased without fears of another outbreak.
It will also allow for the creation of predictive modeling for the COVID-19. This time though with more accuracy. The issue with current models is the lag time for the reporting of positive cases has produced.
We have already seen the various issues that once a day reporting by nations have produced. Shelter-in-place restrictions have proven to be the most effective method of restricting the virus.
Though somewhat crudely mechanical, movement restrictions have been proven to be effective. The use of mobile devices to provide real-time data will enable humanity to further flatten the curve.
Such an approach has been viewed by pundits to have issues with privacy. On one hand, the privacy of those who are infected will be breached. Pundits on the other side of the argument say that the public interest trumps individual privacy.
It is a delicate balance though. One thing is certain: until we find a way of handling COVID-19 statistics with more accuracy, we aren’t going to make any progress.