Knowing where coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are in your area is now easier with location-based news app, Snewpit, creating a dedicated "coronavirus" category.
Users can search any area in the world and receive push notifications of cases that have been reported within five kilometres of three pre-set locations as well as their current location.
Existing coronavirus mapping tools and information sources including John Hopkins University and the World Health Organisation do not have location-specific information about new cases beyond the country and city.
Snewpit founder, Charlie Khoury, said no source is telling the public exactly where coronavirus cases are occurring, and people are struggling to find information, which is potentially adding to its spread.
"There is nowhere to find the specific location of cases. Snewpit can solve that," he said.
Being a crowd-sourced news app, he is encouraging people to post any known cases of the virus - either themselves or people they know - and drop a pin at any locations where others may have been infected, such as flights, public transport, events and other public gatherings. No personal information is required to post besides an email address to prevent bots, and a name or pseudonym.
Snewpit in-house journalists are also monitoring various official government sources and posting specific coronavirus case location and information in the app.
Crowd sourcing the only way:
Given the speed and scale at which Coronavirus is spreading, Charlie says it is unrealistic to expect authorities to provide up-to-date case information and locations.
"Crowd sourcing is the only way to keep up with the spread in real time and we now have users starting to post worldwide," Charlie said, stressing that only confirmed cases should be posted, not suspected cases.
"We want to help people understand if they may need to self-isolate to help flatten the curve."
Awareness and isolation will help stop the spread
"If we improve awareness then we can help stop the spread because people will know where infected people have been and if they might have come into contact with them."
Right now, alerting people that they have been in contact with an infected person is a manual process requiring phone calls and one-to-one communication.
"Snewpit streamlines this reporting process and also helps authorities and communities track cases," Charlie said.
"This scenario is exactly why I built this app. For when traditional news or communications channels are unable to deliver people the information they are looking for."