Germany lacks those resources, and so “for me, the question as to whether we can learn something from them is a bit futile,” Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at Berlin’s Charite hospital in Berlin, said in a podcast for NDR radio.
HACKATHONS, GRASSROOTS INITIATIVES
Alarmed by an explosion in infections and fatalities, several countries have launched ‘hackathons’, or brainstorming sessions where software developers team up to search for new technology solutions.
In hardest-hit Italy, the government has appealed to companies to come forward with solutions, while data scientist Ottavio Crivaro is leading a grassroots appeal for people to donate their data to help map the pandemic.
Experts note some of these problems have already been solved elsewhere – Singapore for example has launched the TraceTogether app that collects smartphone location and Bluetooth data from volunteers to check whether they have been in proximity with someone infected with coronavirus.
A focus on technology may also detract from simpler answers.
India, for example, allows the use of indelible ink to stamp the hands of people in quarantine – a variation on its system to prevent people voting more than once in elections.
“There’s often a low-tech solution to these problems,” said Edin Omanovic, advocacy director at Privacy International, a non-governmental organization. “With quarantine, sometimes the best thing is just to go and have a look.”
(Additional reporting by Anna Dabrowska, Pawel Florkiewicz, Tomas Mrva, Jan Lopatka, Elvira Pollina, Foo Yun Chee, Isla Binnie, Mathieu Rosemain, Tarmo Virki and Toby Sterling; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mark Potter)