During the 7 weeks spent at Levels 3 and 4, students have found many new hobbies and projects to take up their time spent at home. One student has taken it upon himself to develop a contact tracing tool that may prove helpful as the nation transitions into life under Level 2.
Daniel Britten, a visiting student at the University of Auckland, recently developed ‘Handshake’ – a digital tool that allows individuals and businesses to track who they’ve been in contact with. Handshake allows you to generate a unique QR code that can be scanned by someone you come in contact with. This then prompts them to send you an email, meaning an online record of your interactions is created. Britten states that the idea could be used by individuals and organizations, as businesses could display their QR code for customers to scan.
Britten has been in contact with a representative from the Ministry of Health in the process of developing Handshake. News of Britten’s innovation has reached as far as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who reportedly liked the idea. He says he was inspired to develop the tool as he realised the importance of contact-tracing in addressing the spread of COVID-19.
Privacy is of high importance in using the tool, and the Handshake website does not keep record of your details or interactions. Britten says one of the benefits of the tool is that it works as a two way street; both people involved in interactions keep records of this.
Contact tracing has become a key area of importance in the fight against COVID-19. The government’s regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean that businesses have to keep records of everyone who visits their premises. This should include names, phone numbers, email addresses and times in and out. Individuals are strongly urged to keep records of all of their interactions in case they contract COVID-19 or come in contact with someone who has contracted the virus. These details can then be used by the Ministry of Health to ensure that anyone at risk of having the virus is appropriately isolated, reducing the chances of more of our population becoming infected.
For the most up to date information from the government regarding COVID-19 head to covid19.govt.nz
If you are interested in finding out more about Handshake, head to https://coda-coda.github.io/handshake/EEE