As we have seen, governments around the world are resorting to drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus. Many countries have imposed lockdowns of varying lengths as a means of slowing the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
Other countries are already under pressure to lift tough lockdowns so they can jump-start their economies immediately. However, many experts warn that extensive testing must be carried out before any safe lifting of lockdown regulations can be made.
From tracking contacts of infected patients through communication and geo-location tracing to immunity passes, novel technologies are at the forefront of our fight against COVID-19. With that thought in mind, Georg and a group of researchers at the University of Cape Town created Covi-ID.
The app enables health authorities to trace the physical contacts a person has after they test positive for COVID-19. The idea is that no one should be subjected to restrictions due to COVID-19 longer than necessary. The blockchain-powered app allows users to verify their COVID-19 status.
The founders claim that the platform named Covi-ID, a smartphone app launched on April 16 is encrypted, giving everyone the ability to prove their COVID-19 status reliably and without loss of privacy. The idea of exposing personal information to government agencies through an app could ring alarm bells for discerning citizens.
Some, many, people will go through great lengths to avoid being tracked in this manner. Avoidance and consequential lack of adoption lead to incorrect or incomplete data, which would eventually defeat the purpose of such an app for public health purposes.
The process entails taking a photo to prove the user’s identity, as well as providing their full name and telephone number, which can be a friend or relative’s in cases where users do not have their own cell phone. This information will not go to a centralised government or private-sector database.
Each user will be issued a QR code that can be printed, or potentially issued on a card like a bank card. This QR code can then be scanned by authorities to prove a user’s COVID-19 status. This provides the user with full control and authority over who gets access to the data, for what purpose and for how
A supermarket, taxi, bank, or school can download Covi-ID business app for free. Using this app, they will be able to scan your QR code and verify your COVID-19 status. To protect your privacy, this app uses the green-amber-red colour scheme to indicate your status.
Green status means the user has either recovered from COVID-19 or recently tested negative. Once a vaccine is available, vaccinated users will be issued a green status. The amber status means the user has not recently been tested and has not yet contracted the virus. If you have an amber status, a business may implement precautionary restrictions.
For example, Pick ‘n Pay may say only 30 people with an amber status are allowed in their store at a specific point in time. Red status means the user is infected and should self-isolate.
Medical professionals are the only individuals who should be trusted with your personal health information. As a user, the Covi-ID app will enable you to connect with your medical professional of choice and ask them to verify that your status is indeed true.
The founders of Covi-ID are building an open-source system instead of walled gardens created by Facebook, Google, or Amazon, where they control as much of the data, innovation, and ecosystem as possible.