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Tracing A Global Virus

In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, contact-tracing apps were created and enormously adopted, allowing detection of any contact with those infected with the virus. When properly integrated into the public health system of the individual’s designated area and the necessary political backing from the nation, contact-tracing apps have been quite useful in preventing the rapid spread of COVID-19.

As expected, the first country to implement COVID-19 contact-tracing apps was China. The nation’s tech giants, Alibaba and Tencent, developed “health code” mini-apps that individuals could access from WeChat or Alipay. This code is commonly checked before an individual boards any form of public transportation, enters any public venue or area, and even some neighborhoods.

The app automatically tracks the individual’s travel history and medical data after they register with their full name, phone number, and ID number. Based on these aspects, the app decides whether to display a green, yellow or red QR code. A green code indicates that the individual is allowed access to all public spaces. Yellow codes indicate that the individual may have come in contact recently with an individual who has contracted the virus; therefore, they must be quarantined. Red codes are used for individuals who have contracted the virus.

Contact-tracing apps have become so popular in China because of the convenience of connecting everyone through one app, which provides a direct method of knowing whether someone is at risk of being infected or infecting others. As an expat or simply a newbie to China’s interconnected system, make sure to access or download one of the contact tracing apps via WeChat or Alipay. If you are asked to display your health code, remember that it is all part of a mandatory procedure in public places to ensure your own safety and everyone else’s.