WUXI Railway Station. Special service channel created for the elderly and people without Health QR Code.

In the battle against coronavirus, the Chinese government adopted the use of mobile technology and big data, to generate a colour-based “health code” system to monitor people’s movements and curb the spread of coronavirus. This was done by leveraging Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s Wechat for people to apply with identification cards/passport, mobile number, travel history and health conditions to generate the Health QR Code.

With time people’s daily routine was entirely dependent on a Health Code. Leaving your home, taking the subway, going to work, entering cafes, restaurants and shopping malls — each move, dictated by the colour shown on your screen. Green: you’re free to proceed. Amber or Red: you’re barred from entry.

Source: People’s Daily

This health code depends on a throve of data which brings in concerns of privacy, leaks of personal data and inconvenience. One pertinent problem is with the elderly who are oftentimes not very abreast with technology. One’s daily routine or access to public facilities are disrupted in situations where one can’t access the internet, WeChat/Alipay or phone battery dead. Wuxi a third-tier city in the Jiangsu Province, has taken a step to address this issue in light of low reported covid19 cases.

On October 9th, the Wuxi Railway Station in Jiangsu Province created a services channel for the elderly and other passengers without digitally generated health QR code. In events of elderly without phones, people who cannot access WeChat or do not have mobile phones, such passengers after checks, receive the paper version of the outbound pass through this service channel.

As china solidifies its victory on coronavirus, this is a welcoming measure, hopefully, can be adopted in other cities to address the inconvenience.