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Turkey launches COVID-19 isolation tracking project

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Apr 09, 2020 - 04:00 AM

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has launched a project for reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus by using location data from patients’ mobile devices, the country’s Communications Directorate said Wednesday.

The Health Ministry developed the Pandemic Isolation Tracking Project to stem the spread of COVID-19 by tracking patients diagnosed with the disease and ensuring they adhere to the government’s quarantine procedure, it said.

The project, which was developed in cooperation with the Health Ministry, Information and Communication Technologies Authority and all GSM operators, will be important not only for those infected with the virus but also for the safety of their relatives and for public health.

A warning message will be sent to patients’ mobile phones if they violate the quarantine process.

If they do not return to isolation, necessary administrative measures and sanctions will be implemented for those patients.

As the project obtained the necessary permissions in line with Article 12 of Law No. 6698 on the Protection of Personal Data, the patients’ data will not be used for any other purposes and will be under state guarantee.

Similar contact tracing projects have been developed in various countries as a response to the pandemic.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide now exceeds 1.5 million while the death toll is nearly 88,000, with more than 318,000 recoveries, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer mild symptoms before making a recovery.

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