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Coronavirus Close Contact App Tells Users If They're At Risk

ZTE Logo China Flag Illustration AH March 14 2019
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The statement “there’s an app for that” now takes a new turn in the coronavirus outbreak. A new coronavirus close contact app tells users if they’re at risk.

Coronavirus close contact app tells users if they’re at risk

The new app, “Close Contact Detector,” warns mobile users if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person and could be at risk. Close contact occurs when a person is in a classroom, on an airplane row, or in a lunch booth with an infected individual. Airplane attendants servicing all passengers would also be at risk for coronavirus.

The app was announced by China on its website two days ago and was released to the public on February 8th.

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How does the Coronavirus Close Contact app work?

The close contact app allows users to provide their phone number and government ID number to see if they’re at risk. If the detector app says a user has been in contact with an infected person, the app tells the individual to stay at home and contact medical officials for help.

The coronavirus app detects if you’re at risk due to those you’ve had contact with. And yet, no one knows how it works. China hasn’t revealed exactly how it knows if you’re at risk. It’s likely that face recognition, surveillance, and other features are present in the Close Detector app, though there could be more than meets the eye.

Why is China releasing a coronavirus app?

China is releasing a coronavirus app now in light of the current coronavirus outbreak. The sickness broke onto the global scene last month when Chinese citizens started getting sick. What started in the Chinese city of Wuhan has spread beyond China to other countries such as the US. Over 1,000 people have died in China from coronavirus, while a little over a dozen US individuals have turned sick. At least one American has died from coronavirus.

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Sources say that a doctor made the Chinese state aware of the outbreak weeks ago but was told to keep quiet. Sure enough, an outbreak happened. The doctor who revealed the virus weeks before its spread has now died in the coronavirus outbreak. Other countries, including the US, have seen minor outbreaks.

In response to coronavirus, Chinese OEMs took measures to prevent its spread at Mobile World Congress 2020 (MWC). ZTE said it would not have a press conference but would maintain a booth. Huawei said it wouldn’t be in attendance either. Vivo and MediaTek also chose to step away from the conference this year. Other companies not attending MWC 2020 would include LG, Sony, Intel, NVIDIA, Ericsson, Amazon, and Ulefone.

Of course all of those companies pulling out was before the GSMA officials decided to cancel MWC this year due to coronavirus concerns.

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The coronavirus outbreak will affect 1Q 2020 Chinese smartphone sales, with fewer exports expected.