Coronavirus Smartphone Apps Among Top-Downloaded In South Korea

At the terminal that serves planes bound for China, people wear medical masks out of concern over the Coronavirus
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

App developers in South Korea have taken advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to design new apps that help track the disease throughout the country, reported CNN. By the end of last week, one of those smartphone apps ranked No. 6 of the top 15 downloads in the Google Play store, with thousands of downloads every day.

The developers get their information from public government data. Some of the developers were inspired to create a more user-friendly platform for people to track outbreaks as the official information can be difficult to understand.

Bae Won-Seok, one of the developers of Corona 100m, said that the app is experiencing up to 20,000 downloads every hour. Corona 100m allows users to see very specific data about infected individuals, including the date they were confirmed to be infected, where they visited, and their nationality, gender, and age. Users can also determine how close they are to an infected individual using the app.

With more than 1 million downloads since debuting in the Google Play store on February 11, Bae reported that the escalating number of cases in the country has led to a surge of downloads that recently crashed the app’s server.

Lee Jun-young, a former Android software engineer who lives in Seoul, is the developer of a different coronavirus app, known as Corona Map. This app also allows users to track the locations of infected individuals.

“I thought it would be nice to mark them on a map,” the software developer commented. “When I think that this app can prevent the spread of coronavirus patients by advising people not to go to certain places… I feel proud.”

Lee hopes that the government will pick up the app from where he started and move forward with its development.

The coronavirus outbreak in South Korea has begun to affect daily life, with 2,337 of the global 83,000 cases confirmed in the country. The outbreak in South Korea is the largest outside of mainland China.

Korean Air has begun conducting temperature checks on passengers while Hyundai Motor shut down a plant where an employee tested positive for the virus. Popular K-pop band BTS has canceled four concerts in Seoul due to the outbreak.

South Korea has more than 500 testing sites where over 100,000 people have been screened for the disease, reported The Inquisitr. The northern city of Goyang is the first location to set up a testing drive-through, where motorists and passengers can get screened without leaving their vehicle.