Radar Covid, the Government's technological bet to stop the expansion of the coronavirus

Radar Covid, the Government’s technological bet to stop the expansion of the coronavirus

Technology News

President Pedro Sánchez encourages “all citizens” to download the tracking application and communities to join the systemThe President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, stressed this Tuesday the need to strengthen digital tracking means throughout the Spanish territory: “Technology can also save lives if it is used to face a challenge like the one we have ahead. For this reason, we have promoted the Radar Covid application ”. Sánchez has confirmed that the app has already completed the technical implementation process in the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Cantabria, Extremadura, Castilla y León, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands; and has insisted on the urgency that its use be extended to the entire country as soon as possible: “We urge all other autonomous communities that have not yet done so to join the digital tracking system.”The president has also indicated that “all citizens should download the application.” Radar Covid has been available for weeks for download in app stores and helps to trace risky contacts via bluetooth . “The information obtained from the contact tracing allows us to know the level of contagion risk and notify the interested parties”, explained the leader of the Executive. When the telephones of two users are for at least 15 minutes at a distance of less than two meters, they will exchange files through bluetooth, which will be kept for 14 days. If a user is diagnosed with covid-19, the doctor (or the trackers) will supply a random alphanumeric code. By entering it in your application – something that is also voluntary – users with whom you have had such close contact – whose phones check the list of those codes twice a day – will receive an alert. In no case will the identity of the infected person be revealed.Efficacy estimates
“According to the estimates we handle, an implementation of more than 20% in these applications could help reduce the impact of the pandemic by 30%,” Sánchez detailed. This assessment previously provided by the project’s technical advisor, Pablo Rodríguez, is in addition to the results of a study by the University of Oxford that considers that, to achieve maximum efficiency, the percentage of downloads should be 60% in the population of a country, although any lower percentage would also help to stop it.

According to the president, the effectiveness of the application was proven in the pilot test developed in La Gomera during the month of July. During this period, a wave of 300 infections was simulated on the island to test the system. The experiment resulted in higher metrics than those obtained in human-led screening, detecting 6.4 risky close contacts per simulated positive. Almost double the 3.5 contacts that manual trackers identify, on average. “Digital media are now available to the Autonomous Communities and we invite them to use them as soon as possible for the benefit of all our compatriots,” Sánchez insisted.

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Installation and use

For users, the procedure is simple: they only need to download and install the application through the app store that corresponds to their devices, accept the privacy policy and activate bluetooth . After this point, the only interactions that citizens can do with your application is to notify a positive (own), verify their level of risk or receive a notification of exposure, if it occurs.

These first steps of Radar Covid in different parts of the country add Spain, a few months apart, to the list of European countries that have launched applications of this type to try to monitor possible contacts between their citizens. France launched its counterpart app, StopCovid , in June , and in Germany the rollout arrived in the middle of the same month. Ireland is among the countries with the best adoption rates for its app with 37% of its population covered in the first week. In the German case, deployment is also highly valued after reaching 20% ​​of citizens.

Other countries, such as Norway or the United Kingdom, have given up using these digital tracking systems . In the case of the Nordic country, the possible complications in the privacy section and the low infection rates in the country were adduced, which did not justify these potential invasions.

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