Along with the government, Samsung and Telkom are collaborating to create a track-and-trace system, which will locate people who are potential carriers of the coronavirus.
Samsung’s role was the donation of about 1,500 handsets. They are set to be distributed in areas which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus. Telkom’s FreeMe packages will be used to secure the trackers, for free, for the next six months.
In hopes of developing a database, which makes use of information from a users cellular phone to identify places they have been, Telkom is working alongside the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“Tracking is an important part of fighting the spread of the virus as the more 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 people,” said Samsung in a statement.
According to Business Day, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said that Telkom Mobile will supply the location sites which will allow the creation of a “heat map of where the virus may probably be spreading to”.
He added that if they find a potential carrier to be using a different network provider, the operators will be contacted on a case-by-case basis to ensure information is available.
In a media briefing a few weeks ago, the Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams ensured that privacy will be respected and the database would not be used to spy on the population.