European experts ready smartphone technology to help halt coronavirus spread

A group of European experts said on Wednesday they would soon launch technology for smartphones to help trace people who had come into contact with those infected with coronavirus, helping the health authorities act swiftly to halt its spread.

The initiative involves gathering data via smartphones to show who a person with the virus had come in close contact with, so that those people at risk could then be contacted.

The ability to track down those at risk of infection more accurately could help avoid having to ‘lock down’ entire societies, with the resulting hugely damaging economic impact.

The European initiative, called Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT https://www.pepp-pt.org), follows the successful use of smartphones in some Asian countries to track the spread of the virus and enforce quarantine orders, although their methods would have violated strict EU data protection rules.