QR Code – Technology introduced to discover people with COVID

Written by – I. K. Prabha

The establishment of a Drone Regiment for the Sri Lanka Army and a system to monitor and  identify those who are violating quarantine laws in isolated areas through drone technology  happened on November 12th this year. The QR Code system commenced on November 9, as a  new way to quickly and accurately detect the locations where Covid infected people are  wandering and to store that information. It is a new approach to use technology in Sri Lanka by  different social strata. The purpose of this article is to focus on the QR Code system.  

The QR Code system was named the “Let’s Stay Healthy” digital project. When a person enters a  place, that data is recorded in a government database via communication technology. To use this  QR Code, organizations should first visit the ‘’ website and register  themselves. Once this is done, the information will be sent in all three languages Sinhala, Tamil  and English. The code should then be printed and displayed in a way that is visible to anyone  entering the premises.

The heads of ICTA have also commented on this:  

“Technology is not a magical bullet that can control Coronavirus. A Research by Christophe  Fraser, a professor at the University of Oxford, found that QR Code technology, which  complements social distance, hygiene, wearing masks, and many other methods, can only be  used to track social connections if about 60% of the population follows its instructions correctly.  Unless it could lead to the risk of closing the country”.  

If the QR method identifies the number of infected people, the cost to treat those infected, the  availability for the public to access the information, data of the infected persons identified, and  how it will proceed are some key questions that arise here. Furthermore, small businessmen who  have no basic knowledge of QR Code usage, self-employed people who leave home for work on  a daily basis, people who forget their mobile phones when travelling, people who don’t use  mobile phones, elderly people who have no knowledge on technological applications, rural  populations and school children are also identified as communities which create limitations to  the project work.  

Older people and people having diabetes, asthma and heart disease are at higher risk of  contracting Covid-19. People with high blood pressure, lung weakness and weakened immune  systems may be more susceptible to the virus. However, children appear to have a relatively low  level of exposure to Coronavirus. According to UNESCO, the virus has damaged the education  of 91% of children and youth worldwide.  

How the Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person has not yet been identified. Similar  virus spreading happens through sputum and phlegm which are transmitted through coughing  and sneezing. Also, experts say that the sputum and phlegm that comes out of an infected person 

may have remained on the surface and that the virus remains active for several days. The World  Health Organization (WHO) says it can take up to 14 days for Covid symptoms to appear from  the time of infection. Some researchers say that it can take up to 24 days for Covid symptoms to  appear. The Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health says that if any symptoms appear, the  person should be taken to a hospital immediately.  

Organizations that introduce the QR Code method should focus primarily on how it can be made  available to the public quickly and easily. It is also possible to introduce similar methods for  those who do not have an accurate understanding and literacy of technology. Further, such  methods should be widely publicized using the Internet and traditional media extensively. People  who are not technically literate should be made aware of fingerprint and eye-scanning techniques  through community police or community health officers. Furthermore, the public’s trust towards  the government should be won by publishing accurate data and information reports on identified  Covid infected people.  

According to digital data, 67% of the world’s population use mobile phones as of 2020. Of these,  59% are Internet users, and 49% are more actively engaged with the Internet. But 49% of the Sri  Lankan population uses mobile phones. Of these, 47% use the Internet, and about 30% more  actively interact with the Internet. From the above data, it can be concluded that internet usage is  still at a minimum level among the Sri Lankan society. In such a situation, further considerations  need to be given to the measures that can be taken to make this project a maximum success.

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The Public Health Institute of England says that you should isolate yourself if you have been in  close contact with an infected person. Doctors say that the safety methods used in cases of  respiratory diseases can also be followed with regard to Coronavirus infections. The criteria  provided by the WHO is as follows:  

● Wash your hands often with soap if you were in public. Instead of soap, you can use other  hand cleansing substitutes as well.  

● A handkerchief or tissue should be used to cover the mouth and nose when coughing and  sneezing. The used issue paper should be discarded after use. When coughing and  sneezing, it should be done covering your mouth and nose using your elbows.  

● Always stay away from respiratory patients and avoid wandering in public places.  ● If respiratory symptoms occur, get medical assistance immediately.  

Frequent practise of such good health habits not only protects us from the Coronavirus and many  infectious diseases but also enables us to lead a healthy life. Therefore, by socializing this  message, it will be possible to ensure the health and safety of all.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

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