Gaborone - Botswana has introduced digitised tracing in public areas as a means to better trace COVID-19 vectors.
Co-ordinator of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force Dr Kereng Masupu said the “bsafe contact tracing application” would improve contact tracing of people potentially exposed COVID-19 through use of wireless technology (quick response/QR) in public spaces.
Digital contact tracing will help health officials to identify and alert people who have potentially been exposed to the new Coronavirus, and then quickly test them as well as offer support services.
Dr Masupu said, “We have been running COVID-19 registers at all businesses through manual registration. We are migrating these registers to an electronic registration through an app called bsafe which uses quick response code. A printout will be displayed by the entrance and you will scan it using your phone.”
He said the “expectation is that the registration lines at businesses and other entities will be reduced. The risk of contracting the virus will also be reduced”.
The register will be placed at entrances to public service points such as malls and supermarkets. Smartphones will be used to scan the QR code and this will allow authorities to monitor people’s movements.
Dr Masupu said people would be required to avail personal details such as their names and phone numbers when registering to use the app.
“Registration ay malls and public spaces is meant as a database in case you have COVID-19 symptoms and we need to contact trace,” said Dr Masupu.
“Those without smartphones can either ask someone to register them or they can register at service points. Service providers should ensure that they have downloaded the bsafe application and are ready to register and check-in individuals upon entry at service points.”
He said the app complied with Botswana’s legal framework as regards the right to privacy.
“The public is encouraged to use the bsafe app to safeguard their personal information , ensure seamless registration at points of entry and enable quicker contact by health officials should it be necessary to do so,” said Dr Masupu.