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South Korea tracks coronavirus patients’ locations using phone data and publishes it online 

The journeys of all of South Korea‘s confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus are tracked by the government and published online.

So far South Korea has 29 confirmed cases of Covid-19, which to date has killed more then 1,600 people worldwide.

All of those in the country who have tested positive for the new virus have their travels and whereabouts logged by government officials.

Using mobile phone data, credit card records, CCTV footage and public transport cards, authorities pinpoint the activities of the 29 patients.

These travel logs are then uploaded onto the Ministry of Health and Welfare website so other citizens know if they could have come in to contact with an infected person.  

South Korea's Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Moon Seong-hyeok (second left) entering the arrival area at the international passenger terminal to check ongoing quarantine efforts in Busan last week

South Korea's Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Moon Seong-hyeok (second left) entering the arrival area at the international passenger terminal to check ongoing quarantine efforts in Busan last week

South Korea’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Moon Seong-hyeok (second left) entering the arrival area at the international passenger terminal to check ongoing quarantine efforts in Busan last week 

Football fans in Yokohama being tested for signs of the coronavirus ahead  game last week

Football fans in Yokohama being tested for signs of the coronavirus ahead  game last week

Football fans in Yokohama being tested for signs of the coronavirus ahead  game last week

Other Asian countries with high rates of infection also track their infected citizens.

China, the epicentre of the outbreak where 68,500 cases have been reported, uses data from mobile phone locations and information gathered from face-to-face interviews. 

Hong Kong monitors families quarantined at home with electronic wristbands and Taiwan tracks people under home quarantine using their mobile phone signals.  

As of Sunday there were 1,665 deaths, mostly in Hubei province. Chins reported the third straight drop in coronavirus cases. 

South Korea has the sixth largest number of confirmed cases, behind only China, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong.

Soul’s wide-reaching surveillance is unique from its neighbours for the level of details and the fact it is hared online with the public. 

Travellers arriving  into South Korea from China have to hand over their phone numbers in order the enter the country.

They then have to download a government app to report their health status every day. Failure to do so leads to government officials calling the visitor to work their their location.  

A subway worker disinfecting a train at a depot, as a precaution against coroavirus, in Incheon, South Korea

A subway worker disinfecting a train at a depot, as a precaution against coroavirus, in Incheon, South Korea

A subway worker disinfecting a train at a depot, as a precaution against coroavirus, in Incheon, South Korea

Patients who test positive are told their personal data is being published but they cannot object or opt out. 

Abdi Mahamud, a senior World Health Organization official coordinating a Covid-19 response team in the western Pacific region said using ‘big data’ can aid early detection and outbreak responses.

He told The Wall Street Journal: ‘However, this is an emerging field and caution needs to be taken on the interpretation of this kind of information.’ 

The coronavirus that emerged in central China at the end of last year has now killed more than 1,600 people and spread around the world.

The latest figures from China show there are almost 69,000 people infected in the country.

Outside mainland China, there have been about 780 infections reported in nearly 30 locations. Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan have each reported one fatality, while France on Saturday announced the first death outside Asia, an elderly Chinese tourist.

Africa reported its first infection when a patient was discovered in Egypt on Friday.  

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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