Contact Tracing Traffic Light System

At the moment the lockdown is the most draconian measure imaginable and it baffles me that more technology and big data hasn't been used to help fight the virus. The contact tracing app in development is a good start but I would include a traffic light metric to allow people least at risk to return to more normal levels.

This would require large app uptake and testing so is not an immediate fix but a plan for the future to allow society to bounce back to normal.

If you get tested and are clear you effectively have a green light. This means you can go to shops and interact with people (i.e least restricted activities). Shops would have a scanner on the door to make sure no one at risk is allowed in. If you test positive you get a red light meaning you will have to self isolate for 14 days as per current situation. If you come into contact with a red metric individual you are put on an amber metric, meaning that you have some restrictions, but can still go to the supermarket and outdoors for exercise etc. Once tested negative your metric can return to green and normal activities.

This is obviously not an immediate fix, but would allow people to identify when they need tested whilst having the smallest impact on society possible.

Why the contribution is important

My idea would implement technology, incentivise people to use and monitor effectively the contact tracing app and direct testing to where it will be most effective to minimise the ongoing effect on society. It would not be an immediate overnight fix but could be put in place to help inform of progress and limit the ongoing spread and impact of the virus, because at some point the socioeconomic impact of the lockdown will outweigh the health benefits of staying in lockdown.

by Ziggy127 on May 05, 2020 at 02:19PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 2.0
Based on: 6 votes


  • Posted by Ziggy127 May 05, 2020 at 15:05

    I personally endorse this idea :)
  • Posted by DrT May 05, 2020 at 15:26

    Things are not just as simple as that. Each individual’s traffic light status is not fixed as we will all be continuously exposed to others, so our status will be a moving feast.
  • Posted by Rachel_T1502 May 05, 2020 at 16:20

    There is also a significant false negative rate with the current tests
  • Posted by Ziggy127 May 06, 2020 at 13:54

    Feel like you've both missed the point. If you want 100% coverage then I guess we'll be in lockdown until we have a vaccine? The app would reflect an up to date status, i.e. people not tested in a month would go back to Amber, app could link to GPS to track movement to determine most at risk people and change status if you come into contact with someone else at risk, there are so many options to utilise technology that we simply aren't doing.

    False negatives a worry yes, lets take a utilitarian view here though? People are dying of covid, and people will lose livelihoods and die from suicides, suffer long term mental health issues which all goes against the youth in society who are constantly maligned for not doing enough to help the vulnerable anyway.
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