At a time of global pandemic when travel restrictions within and across the borders are putting an unprecedented pressure on world economy, China is mobilizing its digital prowess, through a widely popular mobile app, to strike a balance between public health and national growth.
Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, was the first in the nation to have launched a health QR code system on Feb 11, to curb the spread of infection as it tentatively restarted production.
People who want to get into the city need to report their travel history and health conditions online in advance. In turn, they will be assigned codes marked by green, yellow or red based on the information they offer.
The green code means people have little chance of having been infected, while residents with yellow and red ones must be held under quarantine for a few days and report their health information daily before they are cleared for travel again.
Such QR codes have been posted at the entrances to residential communities, companies and other public places in Hangzhou. Those who want to enter public spaces or take public transport vehicles are required to show their green health codes. Those who don't have smartphones, especially the elderly and children, can pass with valid paper documents.
As of Feb 17, the health QR code system had been applied in all 11 cities in Zhejiang.
Based on the province's pilot practice, the General Office of the State Council developed a national health code system with Ant Financial and promoted it nationwide on Feb 29.
The code serves as a regional "traffic permit" to ensure orderly population flow during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In response to the rising number of imported novel coronavirus infections, an international edition of health QR code system has been developed recently and put into use.
During the outbreak, all inbound passengers must report their health condition before entering China. Passengers may use a built-in WeChat program (“海关旅客指尖服务”) or a mobile phone application developed by China Customs to complete the health condition report, resulting in the end a two-dimensional code. Passengers have to present this code to pass through customs.
The invention and use of the health code help local authorities and enterprises monitor an epidemic situation in real time and effectively prevent and control its spread, constituting an efficient response to the ongoing health emergency as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Copyright©2020 China Daily. All rights reserved.