Khairy launches new tech to help govt identify Covid-19 hotspots, prevent clusters

BIG data and artificial intelligence will be used to help Putrajaya better manage the Covid-19 pandemic, the  Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) said today.

The technology called Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE), developed by the government, was launched by Mosti minister Khairy Jamaluddin today.

He said HIDE will be used to allow for more targeted interventions in managing the pandemic and identify potential hotspots ahead of time.

“Due to the increase of Covid-19 cases recently, the National Security Council (MKN) on May 1 decided to use an early warning system to identify hotspots.

“HIDE will give important data to the Ministry of Health and other authorities to take early pre-emptive targeted action to avoid clusters at a hotspot,” he said at a press conference at Putrajaya today.

To date, Khairy said HIDE has identified 1,660 potential hotspots that could become clusters, compared to 1,170 last week.

The list of 1,660 potential hotpots will be made public on Friday, May 7, added the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Linking HIDE with MySejahtera

Some of the areas identified as potential large hotspots in Selangor and Putrajaya are shopping malls, restaurants, supermarkets, bazaars and office premises.

“Putrajaya has agreed to start using Hide on May 7 to allow owners of premises registered on the MySejahtera app to know if their premises have been identified as potential hotspots.

“We want to empower the community so that they can make informed decisions if they decide to visit the premises that have been listed.

“This list will also allow businesses to do broad-base interventions and test workers in the affected premises to increase gate-keeping measures, to check MySejahtera risk status, tighten crowd control, lower number of occupants and increase the omnipresence by PDRM, Rela in the area,” he said.

For office premises that have been flagged as a potential large hotspot, measures that can be taken include allowing employees to work from home, reducing the number of management staff on site and testing workers at intervals.

For restaurants flagged by HIDE, they can take measures such a reducing table occupancy and halting dine-ins.

In shopping centres that have been flagged, Khairy said gate-keeping should be enforced at all entrances, occupancy should be lowered and workers must be tested regularly.

For individuals who have been to areas listed as a potential hotspot by HIDE, he said they will be listed as a casual contact on MySejahtera and will be asked to do self-monitoring. If they become symptomatic, they should get tested.

He added that Putrajaya wants residential and meeting rooms in buildings to have their own MySejahtera QR codes. The same goes for workers’ dormitories.

Developed utilising Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) analytics, Khairy said HIDE uses several variables to determine if an area is a potential hotspot.

“Variables to determine hotspots include positive cases in the area, exposure time, size of the area and ventilation.

“Based on the variables, an analysis will be made whether to place the area or premises as a potential hotspot under HIDE,” said Khairy.

He said with these interventions, a potential hotspot can be prevented from turning into a Covid-19 cluster.

“Whether to close the premises identified as hotspots will depend on risk analysis done by MOH and other agencies.

“If it is under control, then testing, gatekeeping, and other measures will be done. If it is beyond control, the option to close the premise is there.”

He also stressed the importance of getting more premises to register on MySejahtera.

Data so far shows that 90% of infections occur in 0.2% of premises registered on MySejahtera.

“This is important information for targeted measures. Premises not on MySejahtera need to register soon as instructed by the government previously to allow analysis to be accurate.”