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Isabela to institutionalize use of new app in Covid fight


COVID FIGHT APP. Isabela provincial administrator Noel Manuel Lopez (center) leads the ceremonial scanning and turnover of scanners and a laptop to the Isabela police led by Col. James Cipriano at the provincial capitol in the City of Ilagan on Tuesday (Oct. 12, 2021). With them are Isabela State University president Dr. Ricmar Aquino, Board Member Emmanuel Joselito Añez, and provincial safety chief Lawyer Constante Foronda. (Photo courtesy of Isabela PIO)

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela – The Isabela provincial government will institutionalize usage of a new contact tracing and control system to strengthen the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), an official said on Wednesday.

This, after it launched on Tuesday a new application or app dubbed as “HealthGuard”. This is seen to help protect the health, safety and well-being of Isabela residents and all those who travel to and within the province, according to Provincial Administrator Noel Manuel Lopez in an interview.

“The HealthGuard has a built-in notification system such that when somebody you have been in contact with, will later on test positive for Covid, the app itself will build a notification to everybody he came in contact with. With regards to data privacy, Isabeleños are safe,” he said.

Lopez said the app has an advantage over the StaySafe and S-PASS system as it also contains data on vaccination. “This will be the first app that will have vaccination information status of the persons,” he added.

He said the HealthGuard app could also be used by people without cellphone because the information contained in the Quick Response or QR code is printable.

The Isabela State University (ISU) and its ISU Business Intelligence and Research and Development Center (BIRD-C) developed the HealthGuard application for contact tracing and border control.

During the launching, Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee chair for Health and Sanitation Emmanuel Joselito Añez said there is a need to strengthen preventive measures specifically on contact tracing and monitoring to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

ISU president Dr. Ricmar Aquino, on the other hand, said HealthGuard is capable of assessing information for effective decision-making by the governor and other policymakers. He affirmed that the app is still a “work in progress and they would continue to innovate” it.

Resource person Dr. Betchie Aguinaldo, BIRD-C director, ensured the effectiveness of the HealthGuard and its technical features.

Answering the query of the Philippine News Agency on the app’s safety nets against hackers and data thieves, Aguinaldo said this is protected with a multi-layered anti-hacking system.

She said initial use of the HealthGuard showed promising results.

Nine border checkpoints in the province will be installed with HealthGuard.

The provincial capitol was already installed with the app scanners, along with the general services office, social welfare office, Gov. Faustino N. Dy Memorial Hospital, Cauayan District Hospital, and the Echague District Hospital.

The ceremonial scanning and turnover of scanners and a laptop to the Isabela police led by Col. James Cipriano were held at the Isabela Provincial Capitol here. Six other laptops were provided to the capitol and hospitals. (PNA)


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