Google Becomes Pro-Active in Covid 19 Mapping

Google - Covid 19 Maps

Google Rolls Out Covid 19 Driving Route Alerts for IOS and Android Operating Systems

Google has launched several new transit features to Google Maps on iOS (read Apple hardware) and Android (read Galaxy, Microsoft etc).  Their aim is  to help users travel safely as lockdown measures gradually ease in some countries following the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest version of Google Maps alerts users whose travel will be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, including requirements like wearing a mask on public transport and whether a chosen route has checkpoints. The update was detailed in a Google blog post:

Getting from A to B can be more complicated these days. Because of COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to know how crowded a train station might be at a particular time or whether the bus is running on a limited schedule. Having this information before and during your trip is critical for both essential workers who need to safely navigate to work and will become more important for everyone as countries around the world begin to reopen.

Users of public transport will get crowd-sourced information on traffic being experienced by services.  Drivers will receive alerts about checkpoints and restrictions on their route.

Google says the transit alerts are rolling out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the U.S. where it has information from local transit agencies, with more coming soon.

In addition, users navigating to medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centres will get alerts reminding them to verify eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system.

Starting this week, alerts for medical facilities will be available in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the U.S., while testing centre alerts will also be available in the U.S. Alerts are based on authoritative data from local, state, and federal governments or from their websites.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free.

This modified article, first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple’s COVID-19 Screening Tool shares Response with Health Authorities.

Apple-Covid Screening App

Covid-19 Screening Tool Lets You Anonymously Share Your Responses With Health Authorities. [U.S.A. applicable] for U.K. see footnote.

Apple has updated its COVID-19 screening tool with an option for users to anonymously share their responses with Apple, state public health agencies. as noted by TechCrunch.

Apple says the information collected will be used to improve the tool and to better understand the spread of COVID-19. The company ensures that no personally identifiable information will be shared, such as your name or your phone number i.e. data will be held anonymously. Your information will also be aggregated with others’ responses as an additional privacy measure.

Apple’s commitment to privacy:

If you choose to share your responses, they will be provided to Apple in a way that does not personally identify you. Apple will then provide reports to the CDC and approved state public health agencies. Only information that has been both de-identified and aggregated will be provided to the CDC and state public health agencies. This means that no information that could identify you or your individual responses to the tool will be included. Information about the pre-existing conditions you select will also not be shared; only the total number of conditions that you select.

The CDC and approved state public health agencies may only use the information to improve the tool and for purposes related to managing the COVID‑19 pandemic. Further, the CDC and state public health agencies are required to comply with privacy and security protections, including not further disclosing the information and implementing appropriate safeguards.

Apple’s screening tool allows users to answer a series of questions regarding risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms and receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.

The tool, available online and as an iPhone app, also offers access to COVID-19 resources to help people stay informed and get support. For example, there are answers to frequently asked questions about the virus.

The screening tool can be used by anyone who is 18 years of age or older in the United States. Apple says the tool does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities

This article,  first appeared on MacRumors.com

Footnote – U.K. 

Within the four countries of the U.K. different systems have been developed using Apple IOS operating system and Microsoft Android operating system.  In Northern Ireland an App can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play .

This App will  inform you if you are in close contact with an app user who has added a positive COVID-19 test result to their app, however their identity and location will not be given.  If you test positive for COVID-19 you can add the result to the app.  This will notify other app users that you have been in close contact with, but will not reveal your identity.

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