In New Zealand, border officials are testing an app that detects the virus

In New Zealand, border officials are testing an app that detects the virus

6:00 AM April 16, 2021

An app capable of detecting the Coronavirus even before the first symptoms appears has been undergoing testing since Thursday with New Zealand border officials. Connected to watches and other connected things, it measures temperature, oxygen saturation, and even heart rate.

Is PCR smear unbearable for you? A solution may be found for you in New Zealand, according to AFP reports. Archipelago border officials began testing an app capable of detecting the Coronavirus on Thursday even before symptoms appeared. Called “Elarm,” it connects to connected watches or devices that measure athletic performance to check heart rate, temperature, or oxygen saturation.

Its designer, the company Datamine, claims to be able to spot the warning signs of Covid-19 there with 90% accuracy up to three days before the first symptoms appear.

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The app creates a custom baseline for each user, based on their data history. It then uses artificial intelligence to detect physiological changes that might indicate the user is sick, learn from New Zealand Herald.

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The New Zealand Ministry of Health now wants to provide border officials across the country with it: 500 border workers will try to apply for a month. “This means they can take appropriate measures, such as going into self-isolation and testing for Covid-19,” said Shane Hunter, deputy director of the Ministry of Health. Datamin has said it will provide devices to officers who do not have them, according to the New Zealand Daily.

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An option that makes more sense since New Zealand has virtually no local case of Covid-19 infection. The only people who have tested positive are usually travelers arriving from abroad. With barely 26 deaths for a population of 5 million, the archipelago has been widely praised for its management of the epidemic, facilitated by its authenticity through its isolation.

The government was accused of acting too slowly

The New Zealand initiative was sharply criticized by the leader of the Centrist Labor Party, David Seymour: “The government did not have to take the idea seriously for 10 months,” he denounced New Zealand Herald. The app has already launched on June 4, And some companies, such as the US mining giant Newcrest, have adopted it, making it available to their employees. Individuals can also use it for a monthly subscription.

“Although this type of technology is available to consumers in other countries, the Ministry of Health is not aware of any other country that is experimenting with its employees at the border,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

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