- DOTr has developed a digital contact tracing app for all travelers to speed up the process of filling the form and contacting travelers in case of a COVID-positive passenger.
- Each traveler arriving or departing from an airport or sea port will be required to download the app available from Play Store or App Store on their smart phones; register and activate an account, scan the QR code and fill in the needed information.
- If a fellow traveler tests positive for COVID, the users of the app will be notified immediately and they can isolate themselves, therefore cutting the chance of transmission.
- Those with no smart phones can ask a family member to register them with the app.
Travelers will need to register and activate an account, then scan the QR codes at designated areas in the airport, and fill in the needed information.
Lawyer Danjun Lucas, chief-of-staff of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), said Traze will speed up the tedious manual contact tracing process to just less than a minute.
Those who do not have smart phones or tablets, Lucas said, could ask their family members with one to register them with the app as it could handle multiple accounts. Otherwise, the passenger should go to the Malasakit Helpdesk at the airport for registration assistance and get a unique QR code.
Traze, a project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), is now being pilot tested in four airports around the country. It will automate the government’s contact tracing requirement across all transport modes.
Developed by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) with IT firm Cosmotech Philippines Inc., it was first piloted at the ports.
It had a soft launch last October 28 at four airports across the country (Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Clark International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport, and Davao International Airport) for pilot testing.
The pilot run aimed to introduce the app and to serve as an information campaign to prepare for the mandatory use in all airports nationwide beginning November 28.
“The system is already available sa lahat ng mga airports. So lahat ng papasok at gagamit ng airport need to download the Traze application (The system is already available at all airports. So everyone who enters and uses the airport needs to download the Traze application),” Lucas told the Manila Bulletin.
According to Lucas, using Traze also reduces the risk of contracting the virus compared to the previous manual mode of contact tracing as it uses a QR code technology to log a person’s location at a given time and date.
Trace positive patients
Once registered with Traze, users will also be notified should they have had contact with someone who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
Lucas said an in-app notification will be sent to individuals who may have had contact with the patient so they may immediately observe self-isolation procedure, and other health and sanitation precautionary measures.
The DOTr has assured that the app is compliant with the Data Privacy Act and it allows anonymous registration and optional submission of personal information.
“It is easy to use and does not require Bluetooth or GPS to work. It will work even with slow data or WiFi,” the Department added.
Other health protocols when traveling
Before heading to the airport, Lucas advised travelers to coordinate first with their airlines to ensure that their booked flights, domestic or international, have not been canceled.
“Many jurisdictions are actually canceling flights for one reason or another not only because of COVID-19. So as not to make your trip to the airport unnecessary, we advise passengers to call the airlines first to be sure,” he said.
He reminded passengers to always wear face mask and face shield, or they will be barred to enter the airport.
Physical distancing will also be strictly observed inside the airport where personnel will be manning strategic locations to remind passengers from time to time to follow the distancing protocol.
On top of these safety guidelines, travelers were also urged to check other health requirements needed at their destination as some areas are still looking for a travel pass or RT-PCR test result.
While some may see these health protocols as inconvenient, Lucas emphasized that it is just a “small price to pay” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.