Hi-tech corona surveillance system proposed

By Easwaran Rutnam

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) was in the process of finalizing a hi-tech system over the weekend to monitor coronavirus patients and those who had any form of interactions with them, the Daily Mirror reported.

ICTA member Sanjiva Weerawarana said that ICTA together with the Ministry of Health and Department of Immigration and Emigration and others, were looking to improve on the technology used for coronavirus surveillance.

The proposed system was set to go live from today (Monday) if completed and will look to integrate several data sources that are available to improve the overall architecture of the system to ensure use of reliable information and to provide an automated approach for every traveler to be recorded into the surveillance system.

A document introducing the system and seeking public input noted that active surveillance in a disease context refers to the public health system proactively monitoring the health status of suspect cases for a particular communicable disease. It also includes the task of contact tracing (i.e., locating and tracking every person that person might have had contact with) upon a suspect case being positively diagnosed.

The proposed solution eliminates the use of a questionnaire to capture critical information such as flight information and only uses it for epidemiological surveillance questions.

A web based database of all Sri Lankans living outside of the country and a voluntary mobile app based location surveillance system to help manage contact surveillance has also been proposed.

The proposal included to integrate all available data sources of the Department of Immigration and Emigration to automatically publish all travellers’ information to the disease surveillance platform as an augmentation of the current paper based approach.

As a component of that solution, a mobile app will be built for hotels to register travelers

A web based system for all Sri Lankan nationals living in other countries to register themselves and use that information for source of travel confirmation has also been proposed.

A mobile app will be built for citizens to voluntarily share their location for a period of up to two weeks for automated early evening warning if the citizen falls into the “Contact” state.

To ensure concerns re privacy, a clear policy has been proposed in terms of who will have access to data, what will be the duration for system to be operational, retention of data and period and basis.

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