The Thai government may impose a 24-hour curfew, if the rate of new COVID-19 infections does not slow substantially to a satisfactory level, after a week of the 10pm-4am now in effect.
Government spokeswoman Mrs. Narumon Pinyosinwat said today that the Government will assess the results of the nationwide partial curfew. If the curfew it is not having the desired effect, the Government may take the drastic step.
She said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha does not want to resort to such a “bitter pill”. Furthermore it would not be required if the public cooperates fully with the advice and stay home. Even more observe strict social distancing.
Meanwhile, the health department is seeking passengers from Thai Airways International’s TG917 flights, from London to Bangkok, on March 27th and 28th.
The passengers are asked to contact the health office immediately on 061-3945402 or 061-3945403. Above all because three passengers were found to be infected with the deadly virus. All crew members on those TG917 flights have already been quarantined.
Google to give Governments user location data
Meanwhile, Google will provide the Thai government and world Governments location data from its users as of Friday. The data will allow governments to gauge the effectiveness of social distancing measures put in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the tech giant said.
The reports on users’ movements in 131 countries will be made available on a special website. It will “chart movement trends over time by geography,” according to a post on one of the company’s blogs.
Trends will be display “a percentage point increase or decrease in visits” to locations like parks, shops, homes and places of work. Not “the absolute number of visits,” said the post, signed by Jen Fitzpatrick, who leads Google Maps, and the company’s chief health officer Karen DeSalvo.
“We hope these reports will help support decisions about how to manage the Covid-19 pandemic,” they said.
“This information could help officials understand changes in essential trips. That can shape recommendations on business hours or inform delivery service offerings.”
Like the detection of traffic jams or the measurement of traffic on Google Maps. The new reports will use “aggregated, anonymized” data from users who have activated their location history. No “personally identifiable information,” such as a person’s location, contacts or movements, will be made available.
The reports will also employ a statistical technique that adds “artificial noise” to raw data. Making it harder for users to be identified.
From China to Singapore to Israel, governments have ordered electronic monitoring of their citizens movements. Above all in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. Covid-19 has infected more than a million people and killed over 50,000 worldwide.
Fear of Government data harvesting
In Europe and the United States, technology firms have begun sharing “anonymized” smartphone data to better track the outbreak.
Even privacy-loving Germany is considering using a smartphone app to help manage the spread of the disease.
But activists say authoritarian regimes are using the coronavirus as a pretext to suppress independent speech. And above all increase surveillance on its citizens.
And in liberal democracies, others fear widespread data harvesting. An intrusion that could bring lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.
Source: Thai PBS, Bangkok Post