South Korea plans to test quick response (QR) code-based entry logs at nightclubs, eateries, cinemas and even churches starting this week in its latest efforts to track and contain the new coronavirus.
Under the plan, the government plans to test the digital entry registers at 19 facilities in Seoul, Incheon and Daejeon from Monday to Sunday before expanding the system across the country.
Visitors to the facilities would have to get an one-time QR code via smartphone apps and submit it to the venue. The venue manager would then scan the code and include it in a digital customer register.
If a group infection occurs, health authorities would match the digital entry log stored at the Social Security Intelligence Service with individual QR code data provided by the app operator to track visitors at the specific facility.
All information will be stored for up to four weeks.
While the government has not released the names of the facilities, they are believed to consist of a range of venues, including churches, libraries, nightclubs, restaurants and karaoke facilities.
Starting June 10, the government plans to launch the system at high-risk facilities, which include bars, nightclubs, karaoke facilities, standing concert halls and indoor gyms that run group exercises, like Zumba and spinning.
QR code-based entry logs have emerged as a tool to better track and contain possible infections after thousands of names on entry logs at nightclubs in the Seoul neighborhood of Itaewon turned out to be inaccurate.
Health authorities and city officials had to rely on closed-circuit television footage, mobile access records and credit card transactions to identify visitors who were not reachable through the phone numbers they left on the paper registers.
Some 270 infections have been linked to the Itaewon cluster so far, including scores traced to an Incheon clubber who lied about visiting the area and carried on with his teaching jobs at a cram school in the port city. (Yonhap)