Taiwan starts new COVID-19 contact-tracing system

Authorities in Taiwan have launched a new coronavirus contact-tracing service that enables people to eat out without disclosing their personal information.

Diners in Taiwan are currently required to record their names and phone numbers for contact-tracing purposes. But some customers worry that their personal data could be leaked or misused.

Taiwan's digital minister Audrey Tang led the efforts to develop a short message service to ease people's concerns.

Customers receive a message with a unique identification number when they scan the QR code for the restaurant with their smartphone.

The registration procedure is completed by sending the number to a hotline run by the authorities. Mobile phone companies will delete the information after keeping it for 28 days.

Officials are said to have developed the new service in just three days. They say registration can be completed in about five seconds, and are urging restaurants and public transport operators to introduce the system.