The Chinese government is asking Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd for help in expanding color-based systems to track people affected by the corona virus nationwide.
On Wednesday, Alipay, Alibaba's finance department's payment app, Ant Financial, in collaboration with the government, released a feature that assigns a colored QR code to the health of Hangzhou residents.
City users fill out an online form, providing their ID number, whether they have recently traveled outside of Hangzhou and what symptoms indicate an illness such as fever or severe cough.
After completing the questionnaire, users receive a color-based QR code on their mobile phones, a kind of barcode that indicates their state of health.
Users with a red code are instructed to stay in quarantine for 14 days and to check in regularly via DingTalk, a workplace chat app also operated by Alibaba.
Users with a yellow code are instructed to stay in the house for 7 days, while users with a green code are free to move around.
State media reports describe the system as a tool that can be used at travel checkpoints such as train stations or highways. It is also used at the neighborhood level.
Two residents of Hangzhou informed Reuters that their apartment complexes had asked for their QR codes when they entered the building. Another Hangzhou resident informed Reuters that she was asked to show her QR code before entering the local supermarket.
Alipay announced on Sunday that it was working with the government to take over the service nationwide.
Tencent, manufacturer of the popular messaging app WeChat, announced a similar QR code-based tracking function on Saturday in collaboration with a department of the National Development and Reform Council (NDRC) in China.
In a social media post published on Saturday, the company said that the system is currently being used in the southern city of Shenzhen and will soon be used in the Guangdong area.
The measures come because the Chinese government is taking unprecedented measures to control human movement to curb the spread of the virus.
Municipalities are increasingly relying on neighborhood committees, often at residential level, to track infections.
Enforcement was patchy and inconsistent – some buildings prevent people outside the cities from entering, others prevent all non-residents from entering.
Local security guards often record a participant's temperature using pen and paper.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)