What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing is an intervention method used to effectively control infectious disease outbreaks all over the world. Those in close contact with infected persons are at higher risk of infection themselves, and may potentially infect others. During the interview process with an infected patient, detailed information is collected from the patient in order to assist in identifying people who may be exposed to the disease.
How does TraceCovid support contact tracing?
When users come into contact with one another, a Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) is exchanged via the TraceCovid app installed on their respective smartphones. The exchanged STI will be stored locally on each user’s smartphone. This STI list contains the records of individuals that a user had close contact with.
When someone is known to be infected, he or she will be requested by the official authorities to share the stored STI list on his or her phone. This STI list will provide the official authorities with accurate information to conduct contact tracing.
How does TraceCovid work?
TraceCovid is a mobile app that allows users to detect another device with the same installed app and share proximity data with it. For example, when you are at a supermarket, upon close proximity with someone who has also installed the TraceCovid app as you do, the app on both your devices will exchange an encrypted Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) and store the exchanged STI locally on your devices. The STI consists of anonymised data and timestamp. No personally identifiable information is collected.
When one of the users is infected with the virus, the official authorities will request the infected user to upload the list of STI stored locally on his or her device. This enables the official authorities to react faster and reach out to possibly infected people to render the necessary health care, and to potentially minimize the spread of the virus.
How does Bluetooth determine close proximity?
TraceCovid uses Bluetooth wireless communication – a wireless technology standard used for exchanging data over short distances – to broadcast its presence anonymously. When the app detects another device with the TraceCovid app, a Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) is exchanged between the devices and stored locally on each device.
Who can use the TraceCovid app?
Currently, the TraceCovid app can be downloaded and installed by anyone in the UAE using a supported Bluetooth-enabled smartphone running on Android or iOS.
How to install the TraceCovid app?
For iOS devices
Download and install the TraceCovid app from the Appstore.
After the setup is complete, keep Bluetooth turned on, and keep your app open in battery-saving mode.
Please note that the TraceCovid app works best in the foreground. To save battery on your mobile phone, activate the TraceCovid in-app "Battery-saving Mode". This will keep the app running in the foreground with a dimmed screen, while allowing communications with other TraceCovid-enabled devices.
For Android devices
Download and install the app.
After the setup is complete, keep Bluetooth turned on, and keep your app open in the background.
Is TraceCovid working correctly?
For iOS devices
If the TraceCovid app is not working correctly, you'll receive a notification to alert you when you open the app.
For Android devices
If the TraceCovid app is not working correctly, you'll see a related notification under your phone's Notifications panel.
Why would TraceCovid stop working by itself?
For iOS devices
You need to keep the TraceCovid app in the foreground. iOS does not allow apps to remain running in the background.
For Android devices
We noticed that some Android phones would aggressively manage battery usage to terminate apps running in the background (including TraceCovid). Android users can refresh the TraceCovid app periodically to avoid this issue.
Does TraceCovid require Internet connection after installation?
Internet connection is required when you first install the TraceCovid app. Subsequently, TraceCovid would periodically update your Secured Tracing Identifier to protect your privacy. Internet is required for this process.
If your TraceCovid app has stopped working, you will also need to have Internet connection to re-start the app.
Do I need to keep the Bluetooth on all the time?
Yes. The Bluetooth needs to be turned at all times for TraceCovid to work correctly.
Will keeping the Bluetooth on all the time drain the battery quickly?
Turning off Bluetooth can save you small or negligible amounts of power.
Unlike using Bluetooth to stream music to a wireless headphone continuously, the TraceCovid app only uses Bluetooth to transmit its presence periodically, which uses significantly lesser battery. Therefore, you can be rest assured that having it turned on won't drain the battery significantly.
How much data does TraceCovid utilize?
TraceCovid app does not upload the list of Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) to our server unless you are contacted by the official authorities to do so. Data usage will be minimal
How will TraceCovid affect other Bluetooth accessories?
TraceCovid app will not affect the usage or performance of other Bluetooth accessories, such as wireless speakers, wireless earpiece/headphones and smartwatches.
What happens when I uninstall TraceCovid?
Once TraceCovid is uninstalled, all records and Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) data will be deleted.
Why is the number of TraceCovid users detected on my phone different from nearby users?
The number provides an estimate of the number of TraceCovid users detected near you in the past few minutes. It is a visual indicator that the app is active. This number is not meant to be a real-time indicator.
How do I know the authenticity of the contact tracer?
When contact tracers from the official authorities contact you, they will only ask questions to provide you with necessary care and guidance. Before they request you to upload the TraceCovid data (Secure Tracing Identifier (STI)) for contact tracing, they will seek your consent and provide you with a code. You can verify the provided code against the corresponding verification code on your app.
TraceCovid app is free. Note that the official authorities will never ask you for personal financial details or request you to transfer any money. If you receive such a call, please notify the police immediately.
When should I upload the Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) list?
You should upload the Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) list only when requested by the relevant official authorities.
What if I suspect that I had been near an infected Covid-19 patient?
You should contact your medical centre immediately to address your concerns and to provide you with the necessary care and guidance. If you are unfortunately confirmed with the virus, you will be contacted by the relevant authorities to get your consent to share with them the TraceCovid Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) list. This list will assist the authorities in establishing communication with those who had been in close contact with you.
Why do I need to enable location permission for Android devices?
Android devices require the location permission to be granted in order for the TraceCovid app to access Bluetooth features.