PH Red Cross launches mobile app in fight against COVID-19

The Philippine Red Cross (Red Cross) launched an app that uses the wireless, geo-location, and sensory capabilities of mobile phones to trace contact events among people. Called RC143, the mobile app will also allow users to contact the Red Cross directly for queries and concerns on COVID-19.

“For the past few weeks, Red Cross volunteers — seasoned veterans in mobile and internet innovation in the Philippines, next-generation developers, and data scientists —remotely collaborated on the RC143 project, leveraging the latest technologies to aid our nation’s war against COVID-19,” said Sen. Richard Gordon, chair, Philippine Red Cross.

After integrating the end-to-end RC143 system in its command center, the Red Cross will roll out the app to its frontliners as well as to the general public in partnership with the local government units and the private sector.

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Available on the Google Playstore, the RC143 app periodically gathers data, primarily using phones’ wireless capabilities, layered with location data and other sensory capabilities of the modern smartphone. Each data point adds context, thus extending RC143’s accuracy and capabilities.

For example, with more contextual data, the app can provide better tracing context — a number of users within close proximity, location, duration — allowing the Red Cross to notify users who had contact, directly or indirectly, with a COVID-19 patient. The app will also enable users to navigate away from high-risk areas, guided by constant monitoring by Red Cross personnel and artificial intelligence.