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SA lockdown app keeps residents informed

Lockdown App
(Image credit: Pexels)

A new lockdown app has solved the problem of staying informed. There's no denying it can be difficult to keep up with what you can and can't do under the different levels of the nationwide lockdown. A handy new lockdown app is making sure South Africans stay informed.

"Lockdown Bozza" lets you know what the regulations are at each respective level of lockdown.

Only information from national government is used to compile the various lists of dos and don'ts, and the service is carefully curated to ensure no fake news or misleading information is spread.

The brains behind the operation are from Johannesburg and Cape Town, Rahul Patel, Adam Romyn, Ahrem Posthumus and Emma Pate, worked together to develop the service in just four days. 

The app was launched with the sole aim of helping South Africans understand the new lockdown regulations, enabling them to stay safe and help rebuild their lives and the nation’s economy.

Documents released by government detailing lockdown regulations are often long and difficult to read, the app aims to resolve this problem by presenting the restrictions in a simplified way.

The idea was born after hearing the President's speech on 23 April, announcing how South Africa would move from Level 5 to Level 4. Patel, a tech-entrepreneur focused on using technology to improve African lives, was left confused by the announcement.

“Whilst lying awake in bed (with my wife and kids camping outdoors in our garden as a staycation) I came up with an idea for an app that could inform South Africans in a simple way what alert Level we are currently at, and what activities can and can't be done,” says Patel.

Meanwhile, software developers and entrepreneurs Posthumus and Romyn, were having a similar conversation in Cape Town. 

Patel sent an SMS in the late hours to Romyn to share the idea which ultimately led to the collaboration and creation of the app.

Pate said the biggest challenge was developing an app over three lockdown locations, having never met face to face.

"This was made easier by the fact that we all had one unifying belief that technology can solve problems! The other issue was that we wanted to launch the app before the country moved into Level 4, which gave us under a week to design, develop and deploy the app," she said.

The app has since gathered huge support and been downloaded more than 12-million times.

An easy-to-follow colour-coded system is used to display different activities under lockdown regulations. Those in red are prohibited, amber refers to restricted activities and green means permitted.

New features will soon be added in days to come.

"We love the simplicity of seeing what you can and can’t do on the homescreen. We are also excited about some of the new features in the pipeline," says Pate.

Within 24-hours of each regulation update, the app will reflect the changes and inform users of new restrictions, and things that are no longer prohibited.

When downloading the app, users must choose their province. You can navigate through different sectors, from hair and beauty or health products, to eating out and more, to view their unique regulations. 

With many additional plans in the pipeline, users can look forward to a fuller app experience, including more information on the COVID-19 outbreak status in South Africa.

"We recently added a stats page which includes the number of cases, recoveries, and deaths. We plan on adding additional data and insights here. We are also hoping to provide more community relevant information for South Africans now that more businesses will be open in Level 3. Keep an eye out for our new features," adds Pate.

To stay up-to-date on regulations you can download the app here.