Chachoengsao, Honda to test Covid-19 tracking app
Chachoengsao province and Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co will begin using a new app to track high-risk areas for Covid-19 in an effort to mitigate the spread of the outbreak.
The Mor Chana app, launched earlier this month by a group of software developers under the name Chuay Kan Group, allows individuals to log whether they are infected with Covid-19 along with their location to provide a heat map of high-risk areas. Areas shown in green on the app are low risk, while areas in red are high risk.
Honda required its 18,000 employees in Thailand to download the app and record their own information, using the app to avoid high-risk areas.
Somphote Ahunai, chief executive of Energy Absolute Plc (EA), one of the companies that helped develop the app, said the tracking system will provide real-time data to the Department of Disease Control for analysis.
He said the app will indirectly help hospitals to avoid overcrowding by keeping people out of high-risk areas.
Without a vaccine, the fight against the virus could take as long as 12-18 months, so apps like these may be an essential tool in curbing the spread and reopening the economy.
Mr Somphote was one of 20 billionaires who received a letter from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha requesting help fighting the pandemic.
In response EA has budgeted over 50 million baht to develop and expand 1,000 intensive care units (ICUs) in 100 hospitals nationwide as well as donate medical equipment.
He said the app is part of the Thai Plus model that will help develop medical equipment and expand ICUs across the nation.
"Before the lockdown is eased we must ensure medical staff across Thailand have enough equipment and facilities to prevent more outbreaks and handle newly infected patients," said Mr Somphote.
"We don't want to have an uncontrollable situation like in Europe or the US."
The company also financially sponsored Prince Songkla University (PSU) to conduct successful R&D of rapid Covid-19 tests, which will provide results in 15 minutes from a blood test.
PSU president Asst Prof Niwat Keawpradub said the test kit will test antibodies of infected patients.
Mr Somphote said the longer the lockdown, the more the economy will deteriorate.
He hopes people can go outside without fear soon, while continuing a hygienic lifestyle to prevent further infections.