The Chinese government has reached out to Alibaba and Tencent to broaden its tracker systems.
China’s government has reached out to tech giants in the country for help using coronavirus tracking QR codes. The purpose is to expand the existing color-based systems to track cases of COVID-19 nationwide. The government is working to partner up with Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. In the effort.
Last week, Alibaba’s Alipay released a collaborative quick response code feature with the government.
Last Wednesday, Alibaba’s financial division Ant Financial launched a new feature of this nature in its Alipay mobile payments app. The feature assigned colored coronavirus tracking QR codes representing the health of Hangzhou residents. App users in Hangzhou complete an online form which includes their personal I.D. number, whether they have recently traveled outside the city, and if they have experienced any symptoms to indicate illness. These symptoms include those such as a heavy cough or a fever.
Once the questionnaire is completed, the user is assigned a color-coded quick response code. That barcode is displayed for this individual on his or her smartphone, indicating their health status.
The color of the coronavirus tracking QR codes help individuals to know what action to take.
The app users who are assigned a red QR barcode receive instructions for a 14-day quarantine. They also receive directions to provide regular DingTalk check-ins. DingTalk is an Alibaba-run workplace chat app.
Alipay users who receive a yellow code are given instructions to stay inside for 7 days. That said, when a green barcode is assigned, users may travel outside their homes without additional restrictions.
According to state media reports cited in a Reuters report, the system is being developed as a tool travel checkpoints can use for further screening. In this way, it can help to boost control over the movement and spread of the disease.
The coronavirus tracking QR codes are being used at the neighborhood level. That said, they can also be checked at various travel checkpoints such as highways and train stations. Reuters reported that two Hangzhou residents said their own apartment complexes have asked them to display their COVID-19 barcodes upon entering the building. Another resident said she was asked for her color-coded quick response code before entering a local grocery store.