The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 is reported every day on TV and internet, but do you know how many people’s life got affected by coronavirus-related travel restrictions?
At least 7.1 billion people, or 91% of the global population, now lives in countries with coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Roughly 39%, or 3 billion people, live in countries enforcing complete border closures to noncitizens and nonresidents, according to recent analysis by the Pew Research Center.
Taiwan has managed to maintain lowest infection rate per million for longest period in world.
Taiwan’s experience with SARS in 2003 helped drive both the government and the people to react quickly to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to wearing face masks and washing hands with soap, Taiwan people use high tech to prevent the spread of coronavirus epidemic, one of which is Border Quarantine Alert and Security.
If you think it is simply deploying infrared thermal imager at border entrance to scan the body temperatures of all arriving passengers, then you are over-simplifying what Border Quarantine and Security is and how important it is.
Data of all arriving passengers are put into the government’s “Quarantine System for Entry”, which is consolidated with the “Epidemic Prevention Tracking System” and “Electronic Fence Warning” to track the location of those who should quarantine themselves at home for 14 days. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and travel history, those who reported with possible symptoms are required to give an onsite specimen and/or follow up with local health authorities.
In other words, passenger data that are entered into the “Quarantine System for Entry” at the border entry, airports or ports, is critical to the success of epidemic prevention tracking. It is challenging for the border control officers to enter the passenger data quickly and correctly into the system during the hustle and bustle in the border entrance. Manual key-in is prone to errors and leads to long waiting line.
Actually CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in Taoyuan International Airport Taiwan has automated the data entry of passenger passports back in 2019.
The CDC officers simply place the passenger’s passport on a Plustek SecureScan scanner. Next, the passenger’s data such as name, passport number, etc. are automatically captured from the passport and smartly populate the data fields in the CDC’s system.
This process automation not only saves the key-in labor and eliminates the manual typo, but also provides correct data for the effective tracking of home quarantine individuals. This automated digitization of passports is brought from the seamless integration of a scanner and smart data capture technology that scans and reads the passports and turns them into critical data for epidemic prevention tracking at points of border entrance.
Some call COVID-19 as social virus, and we are advised to keep social distancing with other people. Even so, as the saying goes, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.” This coronavirus crisis has changed our lives dramatically. It may teach us to keep physical distancing, but it also brings out the best in human spirits, inspires people to think how battle the COVID-19 together with high tech, and provides comfort to those in need.