South Korea is one of the countries in the world known for its tech-savvy people. So when the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak hit the Korean peninsula, Korean app developers knew precisely how they could help: through coding.
Mobile apps that help track the novel coronavirus disease in South Korea became one of the top downloads on the nation’s Google Play store. According to developers of some apps, they got their data from public government information. These mobile apps have been getting an increase in downloads since their launch earlier in February.
One of the top downloaded apps is the Corona 100m, which allows users to see the date that a coronavirus patient was confirmed to have the deadly infection. It also tells the patient’s nationality, age, gender, and the places that they visited. Users can even know their proximity from the coronavirus patients. Bae Won-Seok, one of the app developers, said the installs are accelerating about 20,000 per hour.
Google Play noted that the app had been installed more than a million times since its launch on February 11. Bae said the recent increase in downloads, sparked by the increased number of cases in the country, crashed the server of the application.
Corona Map developer Lee Jun-young said he made the app after finding the government data is quite tricky to understand. Health officials released locations showing the areas where coronavirus patients have been, but the official information isn’t that visual. Lee, a former Seoul-based Android software engineer, thought it would be nice to mark these locations on a map.
There have now been more than 83,000 recorded cases of coronavirus in all continents except Antarctica. South Korea marked the largest outbreak outside of mainland China on Friday, February 28, with 2,337 reported cases.
Life and business in Korea
The outbreak has negatively impacted people’s lives and businesses in Korea. Temperature checks for passengers have been conducted in several airlines in the country. Korea’s Hyundai Motor has been shut down after one of its employees confirmed to have infected with the virus. The popular K-pop band BTS canceled all their concerts in Seoul.
Bae said he has even taken more precautions after finding what the apps have shown. He was so concerned about his neighborhood’s number of coronavirus cases that he sent his daughter to her grandparents to lessen the risk of exposure.
Developers behind Corona 100m and Corona Doctor said they are spending their money to run their apps, so they are asking for donations from users.
Lee, the corona Map developer, said he feels proud to know that his app helps prevent the spread of coronavirus patients by advising people not to go to certain areas. He is hoping that the government also develops an app that could help people further against the coronavirus.