SA COVID-19 tracking gets tech boost

April 2, 2020 4:26 pm4 comments
South Africa health minister, Dr Zweli Mkihize (2nd from right), receives equipment donated by Samsung and Telkom for the fight against COVID-19.

South Africa health minister, Dr Zweli Mkihize (2nd from right), receives equipment donated by Samsung and Telkom for the fight against
COVID-19.

by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE South African government’s efforts to track and trace cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have received a major boost following a provider of communication services and a technology firm partnered to assist authorities with the exercise.

Telkom and Samsung announced the partnership.

Samsung has donated 1 500 handsets to be distributed in the provinces hardest hit by the spread of the virus.

The trackers will be connected for free using Telkom’s FreeMe packages for the next six months easing the current backlog and fast-tracking their ability to track and trace cases around the country.

“What we face is a generation-defining moment, a challenge unlike any other,” Sung Yoon, Chief Executive Officer and President of Samsung Africa, said.

“However, our belief in Africa and its people remains steadfast and strong. I know, working together, we can and we will rise to this challenge,” the Samsung executive said.

Tracking is seen as an important part of fighting the spread of the virus as the cases in South Africa increase the more people need to be located and tested.

Trackers will have to travel around the country to find primary and secondary contacts and get testing to those individuals.

Many countries around the world have moved to use surveillance technology to get ahead of the virus.

However, there is a concern South Africa does not have the luxury of such technology as most of its people still do not carry smartphones.

“As we venture into uncharted waters, we need to heed the call of our President (Cyril Ramaphosa) in working through this together, while apart,” said Serame Taukobong CEO, Telkom Consumer.

Ramaphosa’s government last week implemented a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“It is up to each one of us to do what we can to flatten the curve and reduce the possible impact of this virus particularly for those who rely on the public health system,” Taukobong said.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Africa was 1 380 by Wednesday.

– CAJ News

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