The COVID-19 Conundrum: Reopening Economies

Anil Prabha

April 23, 2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe, is simply ferocious. It is threatening lives with infections and death rates that are absolutely staggering. As citizens, our movements are restricted. Economic activity is curtailed. Governments and corporations are scrambling to adjust to this new reality. This new and extreme threat is going to wreak havoc on a world with dire economic projections that could make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. So, it comes as no surprise, that governments the world over, want to reopen their economies. But is it a safe thing to do? That is now the COVID-19 conundrum of our times.

Riding The COVID-19 Wave

Companies like Accubits are riding the wave, and its recent launch of a pandemic management system to revive struggling economies from the COVID-19 fallout is now being touted to governments the world over. The platform named RebuildTheChain (RTC) enables governments to enforce partial economic lock down via health-card based access system and also enables the health departments to efficiently control the spread of the pandemic. The system will assign health cards to a user based on their recent activities, such as the places they have visited and the people they have interacted with. A person is more likely to get affected by COVID-19 if they visit a hot zone – which is a place where many COVID-19 cases are reported or if they’ve come in close contact with a patient. Public places like banks, shopping malls, workplaces, etc. will only allow entry to people with ‘no risk’ health cards.

The Inner Workings Of The Solution

RTC tracks every citizens’ geo-location (using  GPS location data, Bluetooth proximity data, cellular triangulation data) without compromising the data privacy to analyze their exposure to the pandemic hot zones, close contact with affected people, etc. The mobile app delivers alerts to the users when they are in high-risk locations or if they are near a COVID-19 patient. A virtual 50-meter geo-fence based on proximity hazards is set up to warn people of the hot zones. As soon as a user is located near this area, a notification from the app will pop up as a warning. The platform automates the manual process of contact tracing, route map creation, etc, so that these processes can be executed in a matter of minutes and authorities can make quick and informed decisions to effectively contain the pandemic. All of RTC’s solutions have privacy safeguards and are GDPR compliant, so governments will feel assured that the privacy of its citizens are taken care of.

The Counter Argument

Nonetheless, there are growing voices out there that claim the current move by governments to access everyone’s location data to enforce social distancing is an absolute violation of our privacy and civil liberties. China’s social credit and surveillance systems may now become the gold standard in Western countries that supposedly value freedom, privacy and free markets. Should we all be concerned about this? Or is this just going to be a fact of life for all us soon? Ultimately, the onus is on governments and corporations to ensure that blockchain be the underlying infrastructure for a world of good. Matched with 5G, advances in surveillance technology, autonomous drones, facial recognition and artificial intelligence, the future need not be a dystopian one. It could actually be, utopian. Now, isn’t that a future worth fighting for?

Sources: Accubits, McKinsey & Company & CoinTelegraph

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About the author
Anil Prabha

Editor In Chief

Anil started his career in journalism all the way back in 2003. After traversing the sphere of editorial, corporate communications and advertising, he has now come full circle and is back in the world of journalism. He believes in the power of the written word, and its ability to enthrall, delight and inform the reader.

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