South Africa’s National Department of Health (DoH) and Discovery have partnered to launch a COVID-19 Alert app in an attempt to strengthen the existing contact tracing methods in the country.
The app is a free exposure notification tool that lets users know if/when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
It uses Bluetooth contact tracing technology, which simply tracks close contact (proximity) between smartphones and not the actual locations of the smartphones.
Once users have downloaded and installed the app, it runs in the background. Bluetooth and notifications must be enabled for the app to work and users need to have access to a mobile or Wi-Fi network to send and receive exposure alerts.
When close contact app users receive the exposure notification, they also receive information on what to do next to self-quarantine, and to optimise their health and wellbeing.
Now, Vodacom has announced that it will zero-rate the app – meaning that Vodacom customers who download the app will be able to do so for free via the ConnectU platform – which is aimed at the Prepaid market, especially customers who are simply not able to afford day-to-day internet access.
“Working with government and other important stakeholders as part of our social contract, Vodacom remains committed to finding innovative ways to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. It is becoming clear that in order to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions in our country, big corporates such as Vodacom ought to be responsive in this environment and use its own resources and core capabilities to help the government combat the pandemic,” says Takalani Netshitenzhe, Director for External Affairs for Vodacom South Africa.
“By zero-rating the site on our network, we are minimising barriers of access to communication for South Africans whilst at the same time promoting health and safety.”
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