Fixing technological vulnerabilities and fighting coronavirus

May 24, 2021 | 10:40 am GMT+7

Although the VHD, NCOVI and Bluezone apps have helped people make health declarations, there are still loopholes that allow people to avoid the declarations.


 Hanoi authorities said that Nguyen Van Thanh, director of Hacinco, should be disciplined for violations of Covid-19 pandemic prevention regulations.

Thanh did not make a health declaration after returning from Da Nang, which caused the spread of coronavirus in the community.

Under current regulations, passengers have to make medical declarations before getting on board. Hanoi municipal authorities made this compulsory for people who left Hanoi and returned after the April holiday.

Thanh thus should have made a medical declaration before flying from Da Nang to Hanoi and again after arriving in Hanoi.

Soon after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, the Government and Ministry of Information and Communications decided that Vietnam needs to use advanced technology to control the pandemic, and keep society operating in the new normal.

VHD, NCOVI and Bluezone have shown their efficiency. People have been persuaded to install the apps and make declarations with the QR Code when checking in at their destinations.

Medical centers have also organized medical declarations with QR Codes and helped people make declarations through smartphone apps at the checkpoints.

Some cities and provinces have told districts, towns and cities to prepare facilities for the quarantine of 1,500 people, and to install cameras to supervise people under quarantine to ensure that they strictly observe preventive measures.

In an effort to satisfy the urgent needs of Covid-19 prevention, the Ministry of Infrmation and Communications (MIC) on April 23 released a document with instructions on solutions to help prevent, fight and trace coronavirus in the community.

The technological solutions include Bluezone, the app that discovers close contacts; VHD, the medical declaration app for people entering Vietnam; NCOVI, the voluntary medical declaration management app; QR Code scanning, the system that recognizes the entry/exist to/from public points; and the Covid-19 map.

The Authority of Information Technology Application (AITA ) under MIC stressed that the cooperation of all people in society is needed. Technological solutions alone will not help if people are uncooperative, and if local authorities do not take necessary actions.

Effective use will avoid massive quarantining on a large scale. Students will be able to go to school, while businesses, factories and industrial zones can maintain production and trade activities.

Technological flaws or management loopholes?

Experts have pointed out that though technological solutions have helped in the fight against Covid-19, there are still loopholes that people can exploit.

For example, when bypassing airport entrance gates, passengers can show security officers old installation codes to be able to enter.

In other cases, people phone local authorities to make declarations, but they do not make declarations via apps, and these may not be updated.

A representative of the Information Technology Agency under the Ministry of Health affirmed that the three apps VHD, NCOVI and Bluezone are linked, which means that people can install and make declarations via any app.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at a meeting on May 16 said the loopholes need to be fixed immediately.

Do Cong Anh from MIC said to settle the problem of missing people’s updated medical declarations, AITA has a hotline to take medical declarations from people. VNPT is in charge of operating the hotline.

The agency has added a declaration code that will require people to update their status within 24 hours. If they don’t, they will be discovered when going through security check.

Anh said that the new solutions will fix the existing problems, thus helping traceability and finding people who don’t make declarations.

The flaws are being fixed by state management agencies. However, experts say if data is connected nationally, people will only have to check in and their information will be automatically updated. This creates favorable conditions for people to describe their itineraries easily, with no need to use paper.