Expert gives advice on downloading contact tracing apps

Maris Federez   •   July 7, 2020   •   157

MANILA, Philippines — A technology expert is reminding the public to be extra careful when downloading contact tracing applications on smartphones.

Contract tracing is one of the measures undertaken by the government to fight the deadly pandemic.

Contact tracing apps are a big help in locating and isolating people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

The Manila City government uses a contact tracing app called Staysafe.ph, which can check the surroundings for COVID-19 positive, suspected, or probable cases.

Manila mayor Isko Moreno said the app gives real-time data that will guide the users to be on the safe side.

Maari ka niyang bigyan ng datos real time kung may covid sa paligid mo at ikaw ay ma-guide na talagang mag-ingat ka (It can give you real time data if there are COVID cases in your surroundings and you will be guided to stay safe),” Moreno said.

Mayor Isko also said the app is safe to use as it is compliant with Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act.

The app can also assist the user to report one’s health condition, as well as, that of the other members of the family.

The Department of Health, meanwhile, is thankful that the said app has been developed.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) also recommends the use of the said app.

“DOH appreciates the development of other contact tracing apps in support of the national response against COVID19 provided that these undergo validation and regulation with the DICT and NPC especially with their use and storage of patient data. To date, the IATF has endorsed the StaySafe.ph app to use for contact tracing,” the DOH said in a statement.

As a precaution, Jerico Garcia, a technology expert, said it is prudent to always check for positive reviews on any app before downloading it.

It is always a red flag if an app asks for confidential information such as bank account or credit account numbers, he added.

Garcia said personal information is not a requirement in a contact tracing app. Name, address, and mobile number are the only basic details to be filled-in on the users’ information.

Mas valid pa nga po na hingin ng contact tracing app ang contact person e to validate lang. Kunwari ako hihingin ang contact ni Tatay ko (It is more valid if a contact tracing app asks for a contact person for validation. Let’s say, [the app] is asking for my father’s contact number],” Garcia said. —(from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf

‘No need to panic buy,’ Palace reminds public

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.

This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.

“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

PLM on 2-week lockdown over rise in COVID-19 cases among staff

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

The Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) will be placed under a two-week lockdown due to the high number of staff that tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“There are currently four confirmed cases, with two recovered patients and one fatality among employees. There are also three probable and one suspect cases,” PLM President Emmanuel Leyco said in a statement.

BREAKING: Mayor Isko approves two-week quarantine at PLM amid rising COVID-19 casesManila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko…

Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Sunday, August 2, 2020

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has approved their request and the PLM management will be adopting a strict work-from-home arrangement for employees for the next two weeks.

“As a University which produces doctors, nurses and medical professionals, we believe it is necessary to respond to the public health crisis by listening to science and the inputs of medical experts,” Leyco said. AAC

Hoping to show off your newborn? Glass-enclosed mobile presentation cabins available in Mexico

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

A Monterrey-based advertising company in Mexico changed its set of operations and now offers local residents the opportunity to rent a glass-enclosed mobile cabin to present newborns to family amid the ongoing pandemic.

A glass-enclosed mobile cabin arrives at the venue and is deep cleaned before proud parents and newborn make their entrance, while relatives and friends drive past honking their horns to take a peek at the baby.

Only close relatives are then allowed to get down from their vehicles in order to get a closer look. Renting the cabin costs $900 pesos ($40 dollars) per hour.

Adman Ernesto Gonzalez, came up with the enterprise because his daughter was born in June and he was worried that his 95-year-old grandmother would be unable to meet her.

Mexico racked up a record number of new confirmed coronavirus infections on Saturday (August 1), registering more than 9,000 daily cases for the first time and passing the previous peak for the second day running, official data showed.

Mexico’s health ministry reported 9,556 new cases of coronavirus, surging past the record of 8,458 set on Friday. The ministry also logged 784 additional fatalities, bringing the total tally in the country to 434,193 cases and 47,472 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Daniel Becerril, Rodolfo Pena Roja, Geraldine Downer)

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