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Mobile phone data for informing public health actions across the COVID-19 pandemic life cycle

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Science Advances  05 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 23, eabc0764
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc0764

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  • RE:
    • Utoomporn Wongsin, Public Health Researcher, PhD Program in Global health and Health security Program, College of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
    • Other Contributors:
      • Boonchai Kijsanayotin, Senior Lecturer & Research Manager:, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand
      • Usman Iqbal, Assistant professor & Digital Health Consultant, Global Health & Development Department, College of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

    It was interesting to read the Oliver et al. [1] paper about the mobile phone data for informing public health actions across the COVID-19 pandemic life cycle. Indeed, it is of great concern for the general public globally since several countries developed a mobile application to combat COVID-19 (and Thailand in among them). Thailand is a Southeast Asia country with 77 provinces, and it is well known for tourism. The majority of the tourists are from China. On January 3, 2020, the Ministry of Public health of Thailand started to screen tourists at five main airports traveling from Wuhan province before COVID-19 declared as a global pandemic (i.e., 11 March 2020 [2]).

    The approach taken by Thailand stemmed from knowledge learned from the Ebola outbreak, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. This knowledge came from initiatives taken by Taiwan [3], Singapore [4] and other countries. The Emergency Operation Center (EOC), Department of Disease Control (DDC), as well as Thailand public health emergency officials act as the operational command points for coordination and communication. The first case of COVID-19, that came from a Chinese tourist, was detected on 8 January 2020. Two mobile applications named Airport of Thailand (AOT) and SydeKick for #ThaiFightCOVID were introduced by Thailand government to fight against global pandemic by monitoring contact tracing in Thailand. (Figure 1)

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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