Tunisia startup launches corona virus-tracking app

Tunisia startup launches corona virus-tracking app

Published: 20-05-2020 13:00:00 | By: Bob Koigi | hits: 4510 | Tags:

Wizz Labs, a Tunisian startup has launched a contact-tracing mobile phone app that identifies and alerts users who may have had contact with others infected with the new coronavirus.

The E7mi application, available on Android and awaiting validation for Apple's iOS, was developed by the start-up that specialized in digital marketing tools for foreign companies.

Like the French StopCovid application, E7mi -- Arabic for "protect" -- is not based on contact tracing technology developed by Apple or Google.

If a user tests positive for COVID-19, Tunisia's Observatory of Emerging Diseases (ONME) contacts other users whose telephones have been detected close to the infected user's device.

Akil Agati, Head, Wizz Labs: "We started in March when we heard about the TraceTogether app in Singapore, but we wanted to do something suitable for Tunisia."

Users "will not report themselves infected, to avoid false alarms, and users who have been notified of being in contact with a sick person will also receive a phone call from the ONME so there can be follow-up," he said.

Bassem Kchaou, Minister of Health, Tunisia: "We have been faster than many other countries" in launching such an app, he added. In France, the government plans to launch its StopCovid app on June 2. Tunisia's health ministry approved E7mi after three weeks of testing. An awareness campaign will encourage people to install the application, but "if download rates remain low, we may change our strategy."

This could include making downloading the application compulsory for people to enter large public spaces.

Personal data will be archived for 14 days under the control of the National Personal Data Protection Authority and will only be used by ONME for contacting people about coronavirus, Nagati said.