Tech

Corona pandemic: Quarantine app to relieve health authorities

The Federal Government hopes that another health app will ease the burden on health authorities. This involves monitoring people who have had contact with an infected person and are therefore in quarantine at home. Currently "developed a technical solution that allows voluntary digital reporting by affected citizens to the competent health authority", State Secretary for Health Thomas Gebhart replied to a written request from FDP MP Manuel Höferlin.

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Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) announced the quarantine app or the quarantine diary at a press conference on April 20, 2020 (Video from 8:30). Among privacy advocates then there were fears, the location of those affected can be monitored using the app. In this way, the authorities in other countries check whether the quarantine conditions are violated. Hong Kong even monitors the quarantine requirements with special wristbands.

However, this should not be the case here. People in quarantine could use the app to submit information about their state of health via an online questionnaire in the answer (PDF, page 84). The previous transmission methods by phone or by home visit remained. However, these are "associated with a considerable expenditure of time on both sides".

With the help of the app, employees will be able to "identify the cases for which priority contact is required (e.g. if the symptoms worsen)". In addition, the responsible employees in the health offices were given the opportunity to "to get an overview of the health status of the people in quarantine they are taking care of by means of an overview function". In the pilot phase, a technical solution will be developed by Climedo Health GmbH together with the SAS Institute GmbH.

The ministry had already explained the plans for the quarantine app at a meeting of the Bundestag digital committee in April. According to MPs Anke Domscheit-Berg Ulrich Kelber, Federal Data Protection Officer, is now also involved in the development of the app from the Left Group.

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