Govt Starts Cell Phone Tracking to Send SMS Alerts to People at Risk of Coronavirus


A ‘CoronaALERT’ text message is received by several residents asking them to take precautionary measures as they might have come in contact with someone having coronavirus.

The alert read, “It has been observed that you may have come in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in the last 14 days. You are, therefore, requested to take necessary precautionary measures by self-quarantine.”

Also, people are advised to visit a nearby health facility if they have developing symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty in breathing or body aches.

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It has been confirmed by the telecom authorities that the message is authentic. As per the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), this message is being sent to just selected people.

PTA added, “Those identified were duly screened by relevant authorities.”

The authority said that at Ministry of Health’s request it is sending out an SMS alert to the people who might have been in contact with the affected individuals during travel or at other places.

The government’s Digital Pakistan program is leading this initiative that relies in part on cell phone tracking system. Through this system, first locations are identified known to be visited by Covid-19 patients over the last 14 days.

Once an owner of phone tests positive for Covid-19, authorities use a record of their recent movement to notify owners of any other phones that came close to the phone of the risk of coronavirus, advising them to self-isolate.

Head of Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus said, “To assist the health ministry in identifying maximum people at risk, we are using all possible types of data sources with the help of telecom providers and PTA.”

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