Coronavirus: in Southeast Asia, QR codes more effective than tracking applications

The entrance to a Kuala Lumpur shopping center, where visitors must register via a QR code. Gabrielle Maréchaux / RFI

Text by: Gabrielle Maréchaux Follow

In Southeast Asia, businesses are starting to reopen by setting up systems to rate each person entering a store, in order to have their contacts if ever a person having visited the same store, at the same time, turns out be contaminated.


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From our correspondent in Kuala Lumpur,

It has become a ritual in Malaysia: in front of each business, customers queue up on the brands arranged on the ground, inciting them to respect social distancing measures until arriving at an employee who invites them to register their name, their telephone number, sometimes up to their passport or identity card number, and finally their temperature, measured using a thermometer.

However, some more modern stalls collect this information via a QR code that everyone must scan to complete a questionnaire.

In Singapore, the failure of a tracking application

Since May 4, 2020, Malaysia has reopened businesses, without lowering the guard. By registering each entry in a store in this way, she hopes to be able to quickly trace the trail of people who might have come across a new case of coronavirus and contact them to carry out tests.

In the neighboring state of Singapore , a similar system has been put in place even more generally: even taxi drivers must now write down the details of each customer using a QR code. This system, dubbed Safe Entry, appeared to be much more effective than the first initiative of the government, an application for tracing the routes of each citizen who would download the device dubbed Trace Together.

Despite government incentives, too few people agreed to play the game by installing Trace Together on their smartphones, making the end result poor and unusable. Now passing through shops, public buildings and taxis, no one can now fall between the cracks.

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