Contact tracing

25 Aug 2020
While countries like New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea publish detailed near-real-time data on local coronavirus outbreaks, the US offers very few details on how the disease is spreading due to political meddling, privacy concerns, and long-time neglect of public health surveillance systems
30 Sep 2020
The UK Department of Health has hired the credit-checking company TransUnion to verify the names and addresses of people requesting home coronavirus tests, placing millions at risk of being barred from access to these tests. The government says the purpose is to prevent abuse of the public testing
05 Oct 2020
In October UK health officials discovered that limitations on the number of rows on an older version of Microsoft’s spreadsheet software Excel led the system to miss 16,000 positive coronavirus tests and fail to alert an estimated 50,000 people who had been in close contact with them that they
30 Jul 2020
As part of efforts to make returning to campus safer, US universities are considering or implementing mandates requiring students to install exposure notification apps, quarantine enforcement programs, and other unproven new technologies, risking exacerbating existing inequalities in access to both
10 Aug 2020
Manchester-based VST Enterprises is developing a rapid COVID-19 testing kit intended to help restart stadium sporting events. The results of tests, which fans will take the day before the event they wish to attend and provide results within ten minutes, will be stored in VSTE’s V-Health Passport, a
22 Jul 2020
By mid-July, the UK’s contact tracing system was still failing to contact thousands of people in areas with England’s highest infection rates. In London, with the sixth-highest infection rate in England, only 47% of at-risk people were contacted; in partially locked-down Leicester, the rate was 65%
10 Jul 2020
By late June, two months after its launch, Australia’s A$1.5 million CovidSafe app had failed to help authorities identify even a single contact of a confirmed case. In the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania the app had not picked up any contacts that had not already
24 Jun 2020
The UK government has instructed bars, restaurants, hairdressers, and churches to record visitors’ contact details when they begin to reopen on July 4 so they can be contacted later if necessary for contact tracing and testing. However, the industry was given no guidance on how to take care of the
25 Jun 2020
A study of 17 Android mobile contact tracing apps from 17 different countries found that most government-sponsored contact tracing apps are insecure and risk exposing users’ privacy and data. The researchers used the presence or absence of six basic hardening techniques: name obfuscation (just one
18 May 2020
In March the Dutch government announced that a contact tracing app would become the core of its testing policy. Of the 750 proposals it received in response to its open tender, 63 were long-listed; however, none of the seven finalists met the privacy and security criteria. Research simulating the
21 Jun 2020
New York City’s contact tracing system got off to a shaky start; in its first two weeks only 35% of the 5,347 residents who tested or were presumed positive for the coronavirus gave information about close contacts to tracers, rising slightly to 42% in the third week. Encouragingly, however, almost
25 Jun 2020
Germany’s contact tracing system is thought to have been critical in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak, especially given superspreader events such as infections in meat packing plants. Each of Germany’s 16 federal states is responsible for health, and together with the national Robert Koch Institute
18 Jun 2020
In the second week of operation of the UK’s contact tracing system a quarter of people who tested positive for COVID-19 could not be reached because they had not supplied phone numbers or email addresses. Of the close contacts whose details were provided, contact tracers reached 90.6% to advise them
28 May 2020
Lithuania’s data protection authority has suspended the country’s COVID-19 contact tracing app for failing to comply with GDPR’s principle of accountability at the Lithuanian health ministry, which is the relevant data controller. It investigated the app in response to media coverage and public
30 Jul 2020
As part of efforts to make returning to campus safer, US universities are considering or implementing mandates requiring students to install exposure notification apps, quarantine enforcement programs, and other unproven new technologies, risking exacerbating existing inequalities in access to both
10 Aug 2020
Manchester-based VST Enterprises is developing a rapid COVID-19 testing kit intended to help restart stadium sporting events. The results of tests, which fans will take the day before the event they wish to attend and provide results within ten minutes, will be stored in VSTE’s V-Health Passport, a