Nicosia – Tracing corona contacts with an app

The research center RISE in Nicosia, Cyprus, has developed a mobile app to help limit the spread of the corona virus. The app, COVTRACER, is monitoring the movements of confirmed carriers of the virus to identify people they have been in contact with. The use of the app is voluntary. It has been downloaded 8,000 times since the launch. The pilot version of the application is designed for police and security forces, doctors, nurses and fire fighters.

RISE has developed a mobile application, COVTRACER (ΙΧΝΗΛΑΤΗΣ) that can effectively help limit the spread of the virus in Cyprus that had been endorsed by the Cyprus Government.

Combatting the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic requires the rapid identification of people who have come into recent contact with confirmed cases of the virus.  This is how the COVTRACER (ΙΧΝΗΛΑΤΗΣ) app will assist in limiting the further spread of disease. Using the Safepaths technology, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — MIT, COVTRACER (ΙΧΝΗΛΑΤΗΣ) is able to use GPS information to trace a person’s movements during the course of a day. The information collected by the app is essential in identifying where a confirmed carrier has been so that timely interventions such as evacuations and disinfection of spaces can take place immediately, limiting exposure to the infectious virus.  Most importantly, COVTRACER (ΙΧΝΗΛΑΤΗΣ) can assist in locating those who are close to or have been exposed to a carrier so that they too can be appropriately tested or treated. The first and pilot version of the mobile app is designed for those whose work requires movement – for example, police and security forces, doctors, nurses and fire fighters.

The part of the app that collects information on the user’s location is strictly voluntary. The data collected remains on the user’s device.  The user is the only one who has access to the data which belongs solely to the user.  A confirmed carrier of the virus can share the information related to his or her movements over the previous two weeks with state epidemiologists if he or she choses to do so.

The Centre of Excellence RISE – Research Centre on Interactive Media Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies, is a center in research and innovation that was created through a partnership between Nicosia Municipality who is coordinating,  the three public universities of Cyprus (the University of Cyprus, the Technological University of Cyprus and the Open University of Cyprus) and two internationally recognized academic institutions (the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and University College London). It is an initiative that receives funding from the EU through Horizon 2020, the Republic of Cyprus and its partner organisations. Its overall focus is bridging the gap between academic research and real-world innovation in order to promote the island’s future prosperity.

You can read more and download the app here

Contact: Charis Theocharous

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