Iceland is one of the countries that has best dealt with the coronavirus. Its massive tests, which in the beginning of April had been applied to 5% of the population, have allowed them to keep their economy and academic life active. Now, as they tell us in MIT Technology Review, a large number of inhabitants are already using an app to track the coronavirus. However, not helping what you might expect.
Phone calls are more effective at tracking coronavirus in Iceland
Rakning C-19As they have named their coronavirus tracking app, it uses the GPS of the phones to identify those places where infected people have been. Obviously, users must authorize access to their location. According to the data from the aforementioned media, the adoption of the system was quite positive as soon as it was launched. Until now has been downloaded by 38% of the population, which is equal to 138,000 users – the total population of Iceland is 364,000.
The problem, as explained by local authorities, is that the impact of the application is far from significant. Gestur Pálmason, a detective from the Iceland Police Service and responsible for searching for contacts with infected people, assured that the app to track the coronavirus did not redefine its strategy against the pandemic. While it has been useful in “some cases,” he acknowledged that manual methods, such as phone calls, had better results.
Pálmason believes, in fact, that is overstating the impact that automated solutions can have. Regardless of whether they may be useful or not, the detective emphasizes that manual tracking cannot lose its importance. Of course, Iceland’s small population has allowed the development of a strategy that is not 100% dependent on an automated system. In very large countries, such as the United States, it is essential to turn to modern technology.
Will the coronavirus tracking app work in other countries?
The concern that now arises is as follows. If Iceland, whose population does not exceed a million inhabitants, has not managed to get more than 40% to adopt its monitoring app, what will happen then in large countries? The proposal that Apple and Google develops, although it has enough potential, it still depends on the user deciding to use it. It will be interesting to see how both companies, in addition to governments, promote the system to convince people of its benefits.
Further, technology is useless if the population continues to ignore social distancing measures. “We work on a model of collaboration with citizens. There is a law and we can put fines, but we have not. We trust them to follow the established guidelines, and that model has worked fantastically, in my opinion,” he concluded. Pálmason.
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