photo by Tatsuo Yamashita
During the entire 2020, we all were pushed around by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, there still is no sign of convergence for this pandemic, as the number of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased rapidly, and the coronavirus variants have been detected in Japan. Therefore, heath maintenance is very important to survive a situation like this. In order to keep ourselves from the coronavirus, many smartphone apps have been released. There are COVID-19 contact app by the Japanese government, news app, health control apps and many more good apps you can use to stop the spread of COVID-19. This column will introduce five smartphone apps that are useful to maintain your health and protect you from the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application: COCOA
First of all, download COCOA (COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application）, developed by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. This app notifies you of the possibility of contact with someone infected with the coronavirus by using Bluetooth. A notification will be sent to you when you had a possible contact with someone infected with the coronavirus within 1 meter for 15 minutes or more. Your personal information such as phone number, location, relationship with the coronavirus positive person is kept unknown, and only a notification of the possible contact will be sent to you by SMS or email. By the way, a person who received a notification via this app is entitled to have a free PCR test. The more people use this app, the more its value increases. If you have not downloaded this app, get it now.
COCOA can be downloaded from Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website or application store on your phone.
News App: News Digest
News Digest is a website that reports general flash news in Japan such as current events, crimes and disasters. In addition to these, “Coronavirus” tab for news about the COVID-19 pandemic has, and “Infection Status Map” tab to check the status of the spread of COVID-19 were added in News Digest smartphone app. Also, it has a function to check whether there is a cluster case around your current location, so that you can understand the infection risk at the time. This app has a reputation for the credibility of information on cluster cases as their source of news are official announcement by local governments and companies.
Health Control App: Kenko Nikki
“Kenko Nikki”, meaning health diary, is a smartphone app for individual health management, developed by HealthTech.Lab Inc. and Kyoto University in cooperation. With this app, you can record body temperature, symptoms (if any), medication, test results and other major items related to COVID-19. This app let you revise your health everyday, and send recorded data in CVS file. Then, you can inform a doctor of your latest health status when you feel unwell and suspect COVID-19. “Kenko Nikki” is designed for single use, and there also is “Rakuraku Kanko Kansatsu” which allows you manage health records of a group of people (also developed by HealthTech.Lab Inc. and Kyoto University).
Dietary Management App: Asuken
“Asken” is a smartphone app for health management and dietary management. It records intake energy and nutrition of your diet, and there are a huge variety of items including general home dishes and menu of major restaurant chains. One of the hot topics during this pandemic is “quarantine weight gain”. Many people have been forced to change their lifestyle to stay home, and keep gaining weight even though their dietary habits haven’t changed. The best thing about this app is that it visualizes your everyday diet, very useful to maintain your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest concern during the stay-home time is a lack of exercise. Even people who were regularly going to the gym tend to suspend their gym membership due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, shutting yourself away without exercise for a long time isn’t good for both mental and physical health. If you are longing to work out, download a fitness app on your phone and work out at your home or in your neighborhood. There are many apps for strength exercises, yoga and many more.
Fight Against COVID-19
Since the beginning of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown no sign to diminish, in fact, it seems to continue longer. This unprecedented situation has been lasting for more than a year. In Japan, it is heading for spring and summer, but we all should try to maintain our health. The apps introduced in this column are very useful to protect yourself from COVID-19. If you don’t have them yet, download them today!