With Government Cooperation, Kiwi Technology Could Make ‘World’s Smartest Borders’ A Reality
“The Government should allow people who can prove they don’t have COVID-19 with a new app to be fast-tracked through quarantine and managed isolation,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.
New Zealand could soon have the smartest borders in the world with the creation of a new app allowing for the early detection of COVID-19 symptoms.
ëlarm, developed by Auckland company Datamine, is an early warning system for COVID-19 infection designed to be used with wearable devices such as Fitbit and Apple Watch. It detects COVID-19 in the crucial 48 hours when a person becomes infectious but does not have symptoms. Catching COVID-19 in this period would dramatically decrease the number of people exposed to an infected person, reducing the transmission rate and making COVID-19 infinitely more manageable than with conventional testing.
A person wishing to enter New Zealand could submit the output of their wearable device for the preceding days and undertake to continue to do so for several days after entering the country. A negative result would all but guarantee that the person was not infected. A positive result at any time after entering the country would allow a person to be rapidly isolated.
The app aims to stop the asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 by detecting the body’s response to the virus before symptoms are apparent, alerting the user, and recommending health checks.
“ACT’s 6-point plan for economic recovery includes doubling the border security budget for two years to take advantage of such technology. The Prime Minister talks about having the world’s smartest borders, but the Government hasn’t yet articulated a plan to make it a reality, nor was there any funding allocated in this year’s Budget.
“One of the most important aspects of a post-COVID-19 world will be for government to get its public health response right. Innovation by businesses will be a critical enabler of the world’s smartest borders.
“Technology like ëlarm could allow New Zealand workers and businesses to get back to normal much faster.
“Businesses are desperate to get essential workers into the country. In the fishing industry, offshore crews need to be rotated with overseas replacements. There are no Kiwis ready to do that work in the next few months and current crews are at breaking point after six-month tours of duty. The industry also requires specialist mechanics for its equipment who come from offshore.
“Horticulture is waiting for certainty on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. Education needs certainty on international students who are essential for the industry’s viability. Then there are those workers with skilled work visas trapped overseas without certainty.
“That’s not to mention those missing funerals who would love an exemption, or one of my constituents who hasn't been able to meet his new baby born here a month ago.
“New Zealand could have the smartest borders in the world by using innovations like this one.
“The Government should agree that people who can show they don’t have COVID-19 via the ëlarm app can be fast-tracked through quarantine and managed isolation.”