Covid-19, especially its Omicron variant, is spreading fast globally taking toll on many lives. The infection is often caused by exposure to the virus for sustained period of time due to close distancing with the contaminated places, the so-called proximity risk
. Proximity risk is related to not only exposure duration and physical distance to the Covid-infected places, the so-called “incident places,” but also the location noise and the number and nature of the venues (restaurants or places with large number of confirmed cases are often of higher risk). We have designed and developed a technology and an app called CovidInArea 疫地而處 to provide in private timely information to mobile users on the infected places in their neighborhood, and show the proximity risk with these places over time (in Apple App Store, search for either covidinarea or 疫地而處, while in Google Play Store, search for covidinarea or 地而處 without 疫). Armed with such knowledge, mobile users may then take appropriate actions to plan routes, manage one’s health, and keep safe distancing from these places.
To better inform citizens, The Government of HKSAR currently makes known to the general public a dashboard
showing buildings with case resided/visited in the past 14 days. However, these data are presented as a static webpage, which requires mobile users to know their locations without real-time GPS support. Some apps leverage the data by asking users to input locations in order to check manually if they are in proximity to the incident places. They are mostly not automatic, and offer no assessment or visualization of proximity risk over time for users to take appropriate proactive measures against infection.