Highly infectious diseases such as Covid-19 and Ebola are transmitted through droplets and contact. In order to control their spread, it is very important to identify people who come in contact with an infected person so that they could be properly isolated, quarantined and given appropriate care.
The entire process of identification and management of people who have been exposed to any infectious disease to prevent any further transmission is called contact tracing. If properly applied, contact tracing can effectively help stop the spread of an infectious disease.
Contact tracing for Covid-19
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc across the world because of its highly infectious nature. Much of the world has had to lock down and people have been forced to stay inside their houses to prevent transmission, given a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.
In a situation like this, contact tracing is an important tool to curb the spread of the virus.
How to trace those who came in contact
If you had a face-to-face contact with an infected person within the range of one meter and for more than 15 minutes, or if you had any direct physical contact, or if you shared a meal, room or any other space, you may have exposed yourself to the infection. In case of Covid-19 exposure, you will need to quarantine yourself for 14 days and report immediately to authorities if you have any symptoms.
Different contact-tracing applications have been developed around the world to help trace people who may have exposed themselves to the virus. In India, the government has launched the Aarogya Setu app to boost the efforts of limiting the spread of the disease. The app was downloaded by over 114 million users on Android Play as on May 26, 2020.
The app uses your smartphone’s bluetooth and GPS to determine if you were within six feet of a perdorson who got infected by Covid-19. The app also shows Covid-19 hotspots and the number of cases within a distance of 500 metres, 1 km, 2 km, 5 km and 10 km.
The app has, however, also raised many eyebrows over privacy and data-related issues.