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News Article

QR Codes Will Track COVID-19 Cases in Mexico City Subway

By Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Fri, 12/11/2020 - 16:44

The use of QR Codes has been on the rise in the last few years because of its convenience, practicality and versatility. QR Codes can be used in any industry, as they have been on the rise inside malls and restaurants. This week, The Collective Transportation System (STC) of the Mexico City Metro adopted the use of QR Codes to keep a registry of users to track positive cases of COVID-19 in subway wagons, reports Expansion Política. The Mexico City government aims to use this strategy to protect subway users and track the contagion chain. Starting this Wednesday, all Metro users who register themselves with a QR code in a subway wagon will be informed if they shared a wagon with a COVID-19 positive passenger. If people do not have a cellphone that can scan QR Codes, they can send a text message to 51515 with the code number located next to the QR code.

QR Codes have been used similarly in other countries. “In cities like Tokyo it has been really important, as well as cities in China,” said Claudia Sheinbaum, Mayor of Mexico City, reports El Financiero. The program was first implemented in Mexico City’s restaurants last month, as MBN previously reported, by the Digital Agency of Public Innovation of Mexico City. Later, its use would expand to gymnasiums, cinema theaters, stores and museums, among others. According to the Mexico City government, between 18 November and 20 November, over 5,000 warning messages were sent to people after the confirmation of 67 COVID-19 cases.

For the registry to work, users scan the QR code before walking into an establishment, and then information is saved in a database so they can later be informed if they were in proximity to a person who later tested positive.  “The registry of phone numbers through QR Codes or SMS is voluntary. Only the phone number, date and time of access to certain establishments will be saved inside the platform. Personal information will be deleted fifteen days after check-in. Personal data will be treated with strict adherence to the Protection of Personal Data norms,” said the Mexico City government, reports el Universal.

Claudia Sheinbaum announced that the first stage of QR Codes in public transportation will be implemented in the Metro System, Cable Bus, Light Train, RTP and the Metrobus, reports Forbes Mexico. The plan is to incorporate 14,464 QR codes in the entire system, so there will be four in each metro wagon.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Expansion, El Financiero, El Universal, Forbes Mexico
Photo by:   Whynot00, Unsplash
Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst