According to the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Information and Communications, on August 13, from 17 Covid-19 infection and suspected cases whose cell phones installed with the Bluezone application, Da Nang and Hanoi health authorities tracked 82 F1 and F2 cases who were not found out by the traditional way of investigating the patient's schedule.
Although this number accounts for a small part of the total number of cases that need to be traced, the results show that Bluezone - a solution that uses Bluetooth connectivity to save contact history in the community - is really effective in preventing Covid-19 pandemic.
In theory, if the usage rate in the community reaches 60% or more, this application can help the society and the economy maintain operation even when the Covid-19 epidemic does not end yet. Because when most people have a sense of protecting themselves and the community, they will install Bluezone on their phones to receive early warnings if they accidentally get exposed to a case of F0 or F1. As a result, new Covid-19 cases are controlled for complete and accurate exposure history, so infection cases that are lost in the community will be phased out. People can communicate daily in society without having to worry too much about the risk of infection while the authorities do not have to apply anti-epidemic measures such as social distancing or lockdowns.
Bluezone helps to save Covid-19 fighting costs
Thanks to the application of Bluetooth technology to detect close contacts (below 2 meters) within the time of 15 minutes, Bluezone accurately traces people who have been exposed to suspected and infected cases (F0, F1). This technology is being deployed by many countries around the world to prevent Covid-19.
Previously, to identify people likely to be exposed to F0 cases, the authorities had to use zoning method through cell stations, and subscribers in the same cell with the F0 were counted as possible exposure. However, the accuracy of this measure is not high, with the zoning scope in urban area of 200m and 400m in the rural area, so the number of cases of wrongly identified of "being exposed to F0" is very high.
This technology was used in the last Covid-19 outbreak in Da Nang City. Accordingly, about 800,000 people were identified to be involved in the blockaded areas. In addition, about 1.4 million people were identified to visit Da Nang during this time, then going to other provinces. In the case of each person contacting 10 other people upon arrival home, there will be about 14 million people suspected of being infectious. This number makes many provinces have to isolate suspected people, conduct tests many times that is costly, time wasting.
With the ideal scenario, when everyone is using Bluezone, the tracing of contact history of F0 cases in Da Nang will be much more accurate. The number of suspected cases will also drop thousands of times, from 14 million possibly down to a few thousand. Provinces and cities will save huge resources mobilized for epidemiologic investigation, quarantine facilities, testing for tens of millions of people.
Maintaining social activities and the economy despite the Covid-19 pandemic
Not only helping to save huge resources and costs for epidemic prevention, if it is deployed widely enough, Bluezone also plays a role in helping to maintain social activities and the economy even when the Covid-19 epidemic is still underway.
If using the methods of zoning based on mobile networks as mentioned above, when the number of people suspected of being infected in a locality becomes too large, the only solution is impose lockdown measures. After 2-3 weeks, if the number of new cases does not break out and all sources of infection are screened, the locality will remove quarantine measures. However, this measure causes great damage when all socio-economic activities are delayed and people have to stay indoors.
Currently, Singapore is the most successful country in the world in implementing a Covid-19 prevention solution using Bluetooth technology, with more than 45% of the population installing an application called TraceTogether on their smartphones.
Similar to Bluezone, TraceTogether helps Singaporeans remember where they went and who they have been with in the last 25 days. If they have ever been in contact with another TraceTogether user who is identified as an infected or suspected case, they will be immediately alerted to minimize the possibility of unintentionally infecting relatives or friends. Thanks to this app, although there are still restrictions on the number of people gathered together, everyday life in Singapore is still quite normal.
If Vietnam can deploy Bluezone applications with a high rate of users like Singapore, we can completely think about the possibility of recovering tourism services in Da Nang, the economy resuming normal operations, the society operating under the new normal state safely, effectively preventing the Covid-19 epidemic.
Bluezone is a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come in contact with a COVID-19 patient,
The contract tracing app, developed by tech firm Bkav, uses Bluetooth Low Energy, a wireless personal area network technology, to link with smartphones within a two-meter distance.
If a user is positive for SARS-CoV-2 (known as person F0), health authorities can identify those who had close contact with that person (known as F1), and the system will alert them about the risk of infection.
They will be also provided with instructions on contacting health authorities for assistance.
The app is completely confidential, anonymous, and transparent, as it only stores data on the user’s phone and does not transfer user’s information or locations to the system.
Those with smartphones in Vietnam have been advised to download Bluezone, a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come in contact with a COVID-19 patient.