China Calls for Global COVID Tracking to Trace Public's Travel, Exposure to Virus
Chinese Communist Party pushes for QR code tracing to track coronavirus around the world
China is calling for a global COVID-19 tracking system to be used by countries around the world so governments can track the public's every movement, according to reports.
On Saturday, the leader of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Xi Jinping, proposed using a digital health code system.
Jinping pitched the tracing system as a “fast track” for orderly travel between countries.
However, he insisted that stronger international coordination is necessary to reestablish cross-border movement amid the coronavirus pandemic.
President Xi addressed other world leaders at a virtual meeting for the G-20 Riyadh Summit when he made the call.
The Chinese government argues that a QR code system could help open up travel by allowing for coronavirus test results to be recognized internationally, the South China Morning Post reported.
“We need to further standardize policies and establish fast tracks to facilitate the orderly flow of people,” Xi said, according to a transcript of Xi’s speech from a state-run news agency Xinhua.
“China has proposed a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of Internationally accepted QR codes," the communist dictator added.
“We hope more countries will join this mechanism.
"We also support the G20 in carrying out institutionalized cooperation and building global cooperation networks to facilitate the flow of personnel and goods.”
The system uses a QR code to store data on a person’s travel and health history, according to the same report.
The software also designates a color to each person that dictates whether they should be quarantined or allowed out in public spaces, according to The New York Times (NYT).
People sign up through the wallet app, Alipay, and are assigned either green, yellow, or red, although it is unclear what each color specifically means, according to the NYT.
The NYT found that once a user grants the software access to their personal data, the “reportInfoandLocationToPolice” part of the program reportedly sends a person’s location, city name, and identifying code number to a server, but users are reportedly not aware that the app is connected to the police.
China isn’t the only nation to use a coronavirus tracking app to try to fight off a second wave, according to The Daily Caller.
Japan introduced the Contact-Confirming Application (COCOA) which was designed by Microsoft this year, according to Reuters.
If a person tests positive for the coronavirus, the app will use Bluetooth signals to detect any prior contact with other users that lasted more than 15 minutes and will notify them, according to Reuters.
Singapore also uses a tracing app, TraceTogether, which notifies users if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.