TechInPacific – The Ministry of Health and Samoa Tourism Authority together launch a joint initiative of the Samoa Travel Tracer app.
During the app launch, Honourable Prime Minister & Minister of Tourism, Friame Naomi Mataafa said, “Since the start of the Pandemic, Governments, and Stakeholders around the world involved in the fight against the virus have relied on data analytics and digital technologies to help contain the spread of the virus.”
“Mobile applications are a complementary response to the need to rapidly perform contact monitoring. They enable the automatic detection of close-contacts and thus help save precious hours of work that public health staff carry out to trace a chain of infection.”
“Known as Samoa Travel Tracer, our own mobile application is a vital component of the Samoa Travel-Ready Toolkit.”
The app is developed by Samoa InformationTechnology Association and SkyEye Pacific, a local IT & Geospatial company operating in Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, and the Solomons.
The co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of SkyEye Pacific, Sam Saili, shared that it took his team more than just a month to launch the app, which has been a journey for them.
Saili found the registering of the app to Google and Apple ridiculous, as they had to go through a verification process that questioned Samoa’s status as a country, which was later confirmed by the government itself.
“Took over seven weeks, but I’m thankful that it is now live,” Saili concludes.
How it works:
The app only uses Bluetooth to trace each phone of a citizen in close contact, and the government will only identify the citizen’s phone number, without collecting nor storing the citizen’s location. Battery drainage is not a problem since the app does not use GPS nor the internet.
“Samoa Travel Tracer is available on the Google Play and App Stores, the Prime Minister said.
“I encourage our community to download the App and help ensure Samoa is well placed to respond to any spread of Covid-19.”