zzzzzzz - Can Cellphone Data be used to contain deadly virus like the Novel Coronavirus from Wuhan, China?

Cellphone data can be used to contain a deadly virus like the Novel Coronavirus. It has been done elsewhere. If the DICT or NTC were to ask ‘nicely’ from the two telcos (Globe and Smart) for date-limited mobility data, then Data Scientists could use these to map out who came in contact with whom.

Mobility data shows the GPS position of each subscriber every X minutes (5 or 10 minutes). The combined and aggregated information shows the most traveled paths/routes. See the map from this link for an idea of what the mobility data might look like. 

You can quickly see the hub and spoke of human travels. By setting up strategic checkpoints, governments can effectively block the travel/transmission from one part of the country to another area of the country. This limits the geographic scope of the epidemic.

Additionally, the DOH can use the data to quickly do contact tracing and quarantine individuals that are likely to become infected. The mobility data can quickly show the travel pattern of an infected person. Since we know the travel patterns, we also know ALL persons (carrying cellphones) that came in contact, or were near the said infected person. All other cellphones that were in close proximity with a known infected person show up in the mobility data.

Finally PhilHEALTH can save a lot of money from avoiding the cost associated with an epidemic. Hospitals can avoid being overcrowded with cases.

A multi stakeholder approach is needed NOW. Gather the DICT, DOH, NTC, NPC and data scientists now. Work out the details and PLAN AHEAD. If you guys start doing this after the Epidemic has reached our shores, it will be too late.

Check out: https://www.technologyreview.com/…/cell-phone-data-might-h…/

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