Preventing major Covid-19 outbreaks in Taiwan for over 8 months thanks to unique digital tracing method

Source: PiqselsSource: Piqsels

Taiwan uses a so-called “Electronic Fence” tactic to prevent a massive outbreak of Covid-19. The method is adopted to safeguard against violating quarantine rules. Up to December 2020, Taiwan had a record of over 8 months without local cases and its effort is internationally recognised.

The Executive Yuan introduced the “Electronic Fence 2.0” tracking system to tighten restrictions due to the new UK variant of Covid-19 being found in Taiwan just before the celebration of the new year. 

As a result, a group of people were found violating the 7-day self-health management rules at a new years eve concert.

How does it work in Taiwan? Not GPS but Cellular tracking

Instead of requiring people under quarantine to download a specific app or to wear a tracking device, phone signals are used to triangulate the locations of the phone owner. 

There are over 80 thousand cell sites providing 4G network all over the island playing a significant role for the measure. 

When asked whether personal information could be invaded, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung responded all related data is to be deleted within 28 days.

Singapore created a TrackTogether App using Bluetooth to curb the spread of coronavirus being one of the first Covid-19 tracking technology introduced. 

Electronic Fence 3.0 not yet released

The digital cellular tracking is less accurate than GPS trackers, with errors caused by fault locating. 

The Taiwanese government has commissioned the AILabs to create “electronic fence 3.0”, intended to create an app that utilises GPS data. 

The new app uses AI technology to combine face and voice recognition allowing for easier daily health condition report during quarantine for both ends.

Since there has been no vast community outbreaks in Taiwan, the electronic fence 3.0 has not yet been released. But officials say that 2.0 will still be in place even after the new release.

 

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