Sarawak deploys digital surveillance solution to fight COVID-19

QR-coded wristband (top middle), Digital Tracking log in and registration step (left), Stay Home Notice (right). Image courtesy of Sarawak Multimedia Authority.

Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) has announced the roll-out of the digital surveillance solution to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak, a state in East Malaysia. The solution will give the State Disaster Management Committee the scalable capability to monitor this form of infectious disease at all Sarawak’s Points of Entry (POE).

On top of the mandatory health declaration, approved persons entering Sarawak will be issued a QR-coded wristband based on the categories they fall under. These categories are known as Person Under Investigation (PUI) and 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN). There are two within the PUI categories; Home Quarantine and Hospital Quarantine. On a twice-daily basis, wearers are required to report their situation by scanning their wristband’s QR code to submit a set of information.

Data collated will allow the State Disaster Management Committee to make informed decisions as well as to conduct random checks on the wearers. The wearers’ location will enable the Disaster Management Committee to establish hotspots, a key strategy to isolate further spread of the disease.

Variations of such a tracker system have been deployed in China, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong where the data collected was crucial to manage the shape and evolution of the virus.

“We are confident that this system will make the task of managing the outbreak effectively and in a timely manner given the vastness of Sarawak. With the time frame given, the development team has made tremendous achievement within a 3-day period to come up with such a solution,” said Dr. Zaidi Bin Razak, General Manager of Sarawak Multimedia Authority.

The State Disaster Management Committee had earlier enlisted the Authority to develop a digital system to track any person who is undergoing self-quarantine for Covid-19. Ultimately, this solution will be integrated with the ‘Permission to Enter/Exit’ system to effectively monitor Sarawak’s POEs.