New anti-Covid phone app tracks shoppers

New anti-Covid phone app tracks shoppers

People buy food at CentralFestival EastVille shopping centre in Bangkok on Wednesday. The government will on Friday launch a new phone app to facilitate disease control at shops. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
People buy food at CentralFestival EastVille shopping centre in Bangkok on Wednesday. The government will on Friday launch a new phone app to facilitate disease control at shops. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The government will launch a new mobile phone app for disease-control tracking of customers as shops reopen with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Thursday that shop owners would register online for a QR code that would be placed in front of their shop.

Customers would use their mobile phone to scan the code as they enter and leave the premises.

"The 'Thai Chana' application will tell customers if a shop, such as a barber, is still vacant enough to welcome them," Dr Taweesilp said.

"Shopping centres will use the application when they open their restroom areas, in addition to their already opened supermarkets and electrical appliance sales."

The app would facilitate the government's attempts to quickly track people infected with Covid-19 and those in close contact with them. Its effectiveness would lead to the further reopening of businesses and activities, he said.

The inspector general of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, said the new app would be launched on Friday afternoon, along with details of how to register and the kinds of shops that could use it, including street vendors.

He said customers could also use the app to tell the government if the shops they visited followed Covid-19 control measures.

He said customers' privacy would be protected. Only the Disease Control Department would have access to customers' information, and only for the sake of disease control. 

"The system will help prevent a second wave of Covid-19. Those who come in close contact with infected people at shops will be called in for testing," he said.

No details have yet been released on how customers would download the app to their phones, and what personal information they would expose.

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Vocabulary

  • effectiveness: the ability to produce the result that is intended - ประสิทธิผล
  • expose: to uncover - เปิดออก
  • facilitate: to make it possible or easier for something to happen - ทำให้สะดวกขึ้น
  • measures (noun): actions taken to solve a particular problem - มาตรการ
  • premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
  • restroom (noun): a room with a toilet in a public place - ห้องน้ำ
  • track (verb): to try to follow and find someone or something - ตามรอย
  • vacant: empty - ที่ว่างลง
  • vendors: people who sell things, e.g., food or newspapers, usually outside on the street - พ่อค้าแม่่ค้าหาบแร่แผงลอย
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