Contact-tracing app soon a must for air passengers

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) – October 28, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The use of contact tracing app Traze will be made mandatory for all passengers transiting airports in the country by Nov. 28, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said yesterday.

Co-developed by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Cosmotech Philippines Inc., Traze is a nationwide and unified QR code-based app which will automate the contact tracing of agencies under the DOTr’s aviation and airports sector.

These sectors include the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airports Authority, Civil Aeronautics Board, Clark International Airport Corp. and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority.

The Traze app will be launched today for pilot-testing at four airports – Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Clark International Airport (CIA), Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and Davao International Airport (DIA).

The DOTr said all departing and arriving passengers at these airports would be required to download the app on their mobile phones and register an account before proceeding to the airport. This system will be followed in other airports soon.

The agency said Traze speeds up the tedious manual contact tracing process to just a few minutes by using a QR code.

“Passengers will scan the QR codes at designated areas of the airport. Once a COVID-19 positive patient is identified, an in-app notification will be sent to individuals who may have had contact with the patient so they may immediately observe self-isolation procedure and other health and sanitation precautionary measures,” the DOTr said.

The use of the Traze app was pioneered by the PPA in its ports last month.

“Passengers who do not have mobile phones or any other mobile gadget may go to the Malasakit Helpdesk at the airport for registration assistance to get a unique QR code, or they may ask a family member to register them with the app. The QR code can be used at any DOTr office nationwide,” the DOTr said.

The DOTr said its use would eventually be utilized across all modes of transportation.

Contact-tracing centers sought

Meanwhile, a bill seeking the establishment of contact tracing centers in COVID-19 hotspots all over the country has been filed at the House of Representatives.

House Bill No. 7538, filed by Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo, intends to establish efficient and systematic tracing and monitoring of COVID-positive individuals and the persons they made contact with.

“If contact tracing efforts will be done quickly and effectively, the impact of the pandemic will dramatically decrease,” said Castelo, vice-chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development. – Edu Punay, Catherine Talavera



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