Barbados continues to enhance its COVID-19 management efforts with the digitisation of contact tracing through the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Barbados Exposure Notification App (BENApp).
It is a free, anonymous contact tracing and symptoms monitoring app designed to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Manual contact tracing has been pivotal in slowing the spread of the virus, but it takes a while to process everyone. With digital contact tracing and exposure notifications, individuals can quickly receive exposure alerts.
The app, for use by locals and travellers, will provide proactive alerts about possible exposures to educate users of potential risk. This information will help them assess symptoms and take necessary steps. With knowledge about possible exposures and responsible action, for example seeking medical attention, staying at home and adhering to the hygiene protocols, residents can work together to reduce the spread of the virus.
The BENApp will notify persons if they’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and has the app running. If someone tests positive, he or she can use the app to anonymously notify anyone who has been nearby. It doesn’t collect any personal information or track a location.
It uses a new feature created by Apple and Google, which utilises Bluetooth radio to listen for and send randomly generated keys. Each key is a series of unidentifiable numbers without any personal information. These randomly generated keys are stored on persons’ phones, and they can choose to share them, if diagnosed.
BENApp has undergone extensive local and international testing to ensure that the technology is ready for deployment, including approval from the Google Play Store and Apple. It has also undergone a rigorous design process to ensure the safety of the data it collects.
Along with BIMSafe, BENApp will reinforce Barbados’ protection against COVID-19. BIMSafe, designed for travellers, offers location monitoring for quarantine purposes, in addition to situation updates and symptoms monitoring. Unlike, BIMSafe, BENApp does not collect any personal identifier information.
BENApp is available for iOS and Android phones from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. For more information about the BENApp, visit https://benapp.gov.bb.