The World Health Organisation (WHO) is readying the launch of a new app aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Scheduled for a global launch this month, the app will let users check their symptoms in order to determine if they are infected with the virus. Reuters quoted the WHO CIO Bernardo Mariano as saying that any government would be able to use the technology that powers the app to introduce their own offering.
As well as flagging cases of potential infection, the WHO app will also be able to provide users with information about local testing options for the virus. Additionally, it will offer users resources for safeguarding their mental health.
Mariano noted that the WHO’s app would be of particular benefit in developing regions such as Africa and Latin America, noting that countries with vulnerable public health services would be able to implement the app swiftly rather than spending time and effort developing their own.
The WHO also acknowledges the potential advantages of implementing contact-tracing technology to the app, which would be based on Bluetooth. Reuters confirmed that the organisation has approached Apple and Google about the proximity detection technology that the firms have developed together and are planning to launch imminently.
As well as the new app, the WHO has spearheaded initiatives to provide accurate scientific information and alerts via messaging partnerships, including with WhatsApp. It intends to launch a similar campaign via SMS for millions of users with low-end devices.