RIGA - Mobile apps being developed to track Covid-19 patients and persons they are in contact with will offer a way for the public to be free again, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told a regional media conference on Friday.
The police are already carrying out extensive inspections of persons in self-quarantine and also persons they are in contact with, hundreds of times every day, said Karins. Penalties for violations of epidemiological safety rules are also quite heavy in Latvia, he emphasized.
Currently, Latvian companies are developing two mobile apps that could help enforce the safety rules, thus saving police resources, said Karins. The apps could be released in late May or early June.
"I believe this will offer a way to make people free again in Latvia and Europe, because we each will have a portable protector in our pockets," commented Karins.
One of the apps is for quarantined people to ensure that they stay home. The other one will be voluntary and will use mobile data to identify the user's contact persons.
Programmers elsewhere in Europe and at the European Commission are working on a similar solution to ensure the ability to track persons contacted by Covid-19 patients across Europe, so that "when you leave Latvia, you are as protected and informed as you are in Latvia," said Karins.
He also emphasized at the press conference that social distancing and hand washing would continue to be part of the daily routine. "We will have to live differently. We will not be scared, but we will be cautious," said Karins.