State governments across India have aggressively beefed up measures for controlling coronavirus transmission. With a special focus on people in home-quarantine, various state governments have been devising innovative methods to keep a check on these citizens. In the latest, the Andhra Pradesh government has devised a COVID Alert Tracking System, which uses GPS to monitor the people currently placed under home quarantine.
The State Disaster Management Authority has devised a technology to track the quarantined citizens in real-time using GPS information from their mobile phone numbers. Over 25,000 people across the state are being monitored via this method in partnership with telecom operators in the state. Named the COVID Alerting Tracking System, the technology is a crucial tool for contact tracing and to ascertain the transmission links in Andhra Pradesh.
How Does it Work?
1. The State Disaster Management officials establish the ‘base’ locations of all the patients to begin with. The base locations, in this case – are the patients’ residences.
2. All movements of these citizens are recorded in real time by their mobile phone service providers, who then supply this information to the authorities.
3. If the home-quarantined citizens venture out anywhere outside of 100 meters radius from their base locations, the authorities are alerted. Further, warnings are issued to the people to get back into their homes.
4. In the event that the people are found outside of their base locations for a prolonged period, higher officials are alerted to take further action.
In the second method, all previous travel history of the citizens would be collected from the telecom authorities. This pertains to travel history within the state for up to fifteen days before the citizens were home-quarantined. If the citizen was found to be in a specific location for a minimum of fifteen minutes, that would be marked as a red zone. In order to curb local transmission, the zone and 2-3 km radius around it would be thoroughly disinfected.