When the Jamaica-based Amber Group began to develop software to provide solutions to Covid-19 problems in its home country, it started with a “lightweight” module, founder and CEO Dushyant Savadia said.
The group developed the JamCOVID app within three days and made it available to the Jamaica government, he said.
Now, Amber Group offers several modules that governments can choose and modify — one of which will be used in the Virgin Islands after borders reopen to tourists on Dec. 1.
“[The VI] has not launched it yet, so I’m limited to what I can tell you about which modules they’ve adapted,” Mr. Savadia told the Beacon on Nov. 11. “The whole pandemic solution comes in 10 or 11 different modules, and different governments have picked different modules that are most suitable for them and then customised those modules quite a bit.”
Available features include health pre-screening, in-country analytics, quarantine management, airport health screening, self-reporting, and a wearable tracking system.
VI officials have said the company’s technology will be used to help monitor arrivals during their four-day quarantine period.
To that end, Amber Group offers multiple options, according to the CEO.
“Option one is a video health check-in one or twice a day,” he said. “Over 14 days’ time and you have no symptoms, the systems can release you from quarantine automatically.”
He added that this system uses a radius chosen by the government to automatically geofence a user who reports reaching their quarantine facility. Breaching that geofence, he explained, alerts authorities.
Another option is a tracking bracelet that could be used for more high-risk travellers, he said.
“Of course, wearable devices come at an additional cost,” he added. “You can’t put it on 20,000 people. It’s impossible.”
It it unclear what modules the VI government has chosen to adopt from Amber Group, and Mr. Savadia did not disclose that information or the cost incurred.
So far, Jamaica, St. Lucia, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Grenada have partnered with Amber Group in the Caribbean region, according to the CEO.
The company offers an “end-to-end pandemic management solution” that it says “integrates pre-arrival travel approval, airport health screening, quarantine tracking and tracing, and more.”
The modules (including an application and website) begin with supporting governments in allowing or denying applicants entry and sending travel certificates to those who are approved. Without this certificate, Mr. Savadia said, no airline will allow the passenger to board.
“That’s how we protect the country’s borders first of all,” he said.
Once landed, he added, passengers will be screened by nurses who will upload their information digitally.
All of the data, including test results and an individual’s location for the quarantine period, will be stored digitally, Mr. Savadia said. Each person will have a digital health folder that the government can easily track, and the information will be kept in a database.
But once the quarantine ends, he added, all of that data is erased.
“For me, data privacy is very important,” Mr. Savadia said. “I’m a citizen also. I wouldn’t like anyone to have more data about me than what is required for me to utilise the service for my safety and safety of my country.”
In the Jamaican system, he explained, most information — including an individual’s location — is erased after 14 days. Only the application to travel remains, allowing the government to understand the traffic and analyse it, according to the CEO.
Travellers, he added, must consent to these steps before travelling through a process his system also facilitates.
His programme options also include a self-assessment module that allows residents and visitors to self-report their health status and book appointments for testing if they are exhibiting symptoms and require emergency services, he said.
“This allows the systematic booking of appointments,” Mr. Savadia explained.
Since Amber Group was founded about five years ago, it has branched off into seven different ventures, including Amber Pay, which signed a deal with the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica, and Amber Fuels, which partnered with Texaco.
Mr. Savadia said the company’s Covid-19 software continues to develop every day.
“There has been no rulebook for any government to know what to do in this situation. We’re not seeing any downward trend. It’s only going up, it’s only getting worse,” he said “All of sudden every government is burdened to open the economy yet save lives. How do you balance lives and livelihoods together?”