Gov’t rolls out BruHealth contact tracing app as restrictions loosened Security measures have been taken to ensure users' confidential data is protected, says MoFE

The BruHealth contact tracing app was released on May 14, 2020 as Brunei eased social distancing restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: The Scoop

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The government rolled out its BruHealth contact tracing app on Thursday following the announcement on easing of COVID-19 restrictions from May 16.

Owners of six types of businesses – driving schools, gyms and fitness centres, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, golf courses, restaurants, cafés and food courts as well as stalls and markets – must download the app on Apple’s AppStore or Google Play Store and register before they are allowed to reopen.

During a press conference, Second Finance and Economy Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said businesses will be issued a specific QR code, which must be printed and pasted at the entrance of their premises.

 

The minister said 230 vendors have registered for the QR code to date.

Within hours of the app being released, there were over 10,000 downloads on Google Play Store.

App users, including employees and customers, must scan the QR code every time they enter or leave business premises, allowing authorities to track potential carriers of COVID-19.

The app generates a five-colour ranking system that denotes whether the user can move freely in the country. Users with green or yellow health codes can enter the premises while those with red, blue and purple health codes will not be granted access to public spaces.

 

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The first phase of #COVID19 restrictions will be lifted today. Are you prepared? Driving schools, gyms and fitness centres, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, golf courses, restaurants, cafés and food courts as well as stalls and markets will be allowed to reopen on May 16. To gain entry, residents will need to download the #BruHealth app and input their health data every day. The app will generate one of five colour codes indicating whether you can move about freely. If you're good to go, you will have to scan a QR code at most public places. Using Bluetooth, the app tracks your movements as you leave and enter different public spaces. Are you a customer or business owner and not sure what the different colours mean? Swipe through our post to get the lowdown.

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Touted as a better control mechanism in stemming the spread of COVID-19, the Bluetooth-powered app provides authorities with information on the people who visit business premises and the number of people at a specific location in a given time.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin said app users who turn off their Bluetooth at business premises can be charged under the Infectious Diseases Act.

The government partnered with a Chinese company to develop the app, which is also linked to the health ministry’s BruHIMS patient data system and artificial intelligence system.

Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar said the BruHealth app is different from other contact tracing apps adopted in other countries as it integrates with the health data of patients.

“We will know if people have visited a doctor as [the app] is connected to health data and it will be monitored closely to make sure everyone is telling the truth,” he said.

The minister added that public participation of 80 percent and above is needed for the app to be effective in containing the COVID-19 outbreak.

Addressing privacy concerns with the contact tracing app, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin said the government will manage and store all data in Brunei-based servers.

“Security is a genuine concern, we have involved government IT security agencies to test the system and ensure information will not be abused.

“We use a lot of security measures like web application firewall, antivirus software, intrusion detection system and an audit system to ensure the system will not be compromised by hackers and data will not be leaked,” he added.


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