The matter of the coronavirus has been in the news for weeks now as the death toll from the disease continues to rise and more cases are reported in other parts of the world besides Wuhan in China where it was first reported. The outbreak of the disease has caused paranoia among many across the globe with people going as far as avoiding in-person interaction in a bid to not catch the disease. Chinese officials have also been forced to take quick action including the construction of a 1000-bed hospital to accommodate those who have been infected with the virus and are also trying to quarantine anyone who has been in contact with infected people recently.
The report was released on February 18, 2020, by the government of Hubei which is the province of the epicenter of the coronavirus. The report details the measures officials have taken to prevent a further outbreak and one of these involves the tracking of purchases of fever medication both off-line and online to search for possibly infected people.
Tracking the Infection
One of the measures that have been taken by the government to trap the infection is that pharmacies are requiring identification for anyone who wishes to buy fever medication and this information is shared with the government who is trying to track any possible infections. This is done using what many believe is WeChat and AliPay which are online payment platforms in China.
“Since January 20, a comprehensive investigation has been conducted on patients with fever treated by various medical institutions and those who purchased fever and cough medicines through physical drug stores or online. The information including the time, name, citizenship number, current residential address and contact telephone numbers of the above-mentioned patients has been taken in. On-site verification, follow-up testing, isolation, and treatment have been organized,” the report says.
This information goes to show that the Chinese government is fully capable and willing to track the payments of citizens for surveillance purposes and many question how the upcoming digital yuan token will fall in line with these surveillance practices. Clearly, one of the benefits of online payments and digital currency for the government is that it aids tracking in situations such as these.