The Weekend Leader - Telugu states using technology to track those in home quarantine

Telugu states using technology to track those in home quarantine



The spike in number of Covid-19 cases during last couple of days has made health authorities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana strengthen their surveillance system to track in real time all those under home quarantine.

The Health Departments in both the Telugu states are keeping a tab on more than 50,000 people under home quarantine as part of their efforts to check the spread of Covid-19.

Over 25, 000 people placed under home quarantine will by tracked their geo location in realtime with the help of Covid-19 monitoring system, Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender said on Wednesday.

The move is aimed at ensuring that those under quarantine strictly adhere to the norms. The need for keeping a tab was felt as the number of cases was a big jump during last couple of days.

The state was hoping that nearly 26,000 people under quarantine would complete the 14-day period by April 7 without showing any symptoms of Covid-19 and thus, making the state free from the virus if no new cases were reported by then.

However, the death of six persons who had attended Tablighi Jamaat meeting at Delhi and many of the attendees testing positive sent the alarm bells ringing. The health officials are now re-working their strategy to prevent community transmission.

Rajender said over a 1000 people from the state attended the meeting held at Tablighi markaz or headquarters at Nizamuddin from March 15 to 17. Majority of them have been traced and sent for screening at state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad.

The state was already using TSCop, an app developed by Telangana Police, to geotag houses of foreign returnees. Those being kept under quarantine are asked to fill an online form with a selfie, which automatically turns on location.

Under the Covid-19 monitoring system, the authorities will be able to keep tab on the quarantined people by receiving the real-time feed from the GPS fitted with their smart phones.

Andhra Pradesh has already deployed the technology to monitor the people home quarantined. It is using two tools developed by the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) with the help of other agencies to track each person in home quarantine in real time and to track the travel history of positive cases.

Covid alerting tracking system is being used by the authorities to track over 25,000 people placed under home quarantine by tracking the location of their numbers realtime with the help of telecomm service providers and mobile tower signals.

Taking the base location as the location of the respective person's residence, the tool is equipped to alert the district authorities if the person travels beyond a 100m radius from the base location, thereby violating the norms of home quarantine.

The second tool is being used by the authorities to track the travel history of all the positive cases using the same data and mobile tower siganls. With the help of the patient's phone number and service providers, all the places that the person has travelled to - from 15 places prior to testing positive are obtained by the authorities.

Upon getting all the locations that the patient has visited, they narrow down on those where the patient has spent at least 15 minutes . This helps the authorities track local transmission, setup red zones within a 2-3 km radius and sanitise them.

Sources said other states like Telangana, Bihar and Odisha were planning to follow Andhra Pradesh model and use the same tools to curb the spread of coronavirus in their respective stats. IANS

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