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Red Cross introduces mobile app for Covid-19 tracking

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The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) introduced a mobile application to help Filipinos assess their risk of contracting the coronavirus disease.

RC143 mobile app, named after the Red Cross’ community-based volunteer program, uses the wireless, geo-location and sensory capabilities of mobile phones to trace contact events between people.

“For the past few weeks, Red Cross volunteers—seasoned veterans in mobile and internet innovation in the Philippines, next generation developers, and data scientists—remotely collaborated on the RC143 project, leveraging the latest technologies to aid our nation’s war against Covid-19,” said PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sen. Richard Gordon in a statement.

“In order to unmask the invisible enemy, we have turned to technology in a bid to better guide our frontliners and command center experts,” he added.

Gordon hoped to integrate the end-to-end RC143 system in its command center, and roll out the app to its frontliners and the general public.

Available on Google PlayStore, RC143 app gathers data that can provide better tracing context, like number of users within close proximity, location and duration, allowing the Red Cross to notify users who had direct or indirect contact with a Covid-19 patient.

The app will also enable users to navigate away from high risk areas, guided by constant monitoring by Red Cross personnel and AI.

“It is our hope that RC143, in the hands of more and more people, will, sooner than later, amount to significant aggregate data that government and health authorities can use in real-time, to mobilize resources and craft policy decisions that will allow the resumption of productive societal life albeit under the new normal,” Gordon said.

“Our breakthrough for now is in deploying CCT or contextual contact tracing to alert PUIs at various levels of risk in their asymptomatic stages, powered by AI and Deep Learning analytics to help determine where outbreaks are or may occur,” said Dennis Mendiola, senior consultant to the chairman and former governor of the PRC.

Mendiola said AI and other mobile computing technologies are force-multipliers for frontliners of the Red Cross who are able to filter and assist more people where the entire process used to be done manually.

He added that a navigational feature in RC143’s pipeline would be useful for people to identify high-risk zones.

“With more and more people downloading and carrying the app, it can aid citizens in their cautious but purposeful return to essential economic activity,” Mendiola said.

Any resident of the Philippines with an active Philippine mobile number can use RC143 for free. To download the app, users can simply go to Google Play and search for “RC143.”

The app is currently only available for Android users (version 6.0 and above). However, its developers said that it will soon be available for iOS.

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