“Unlike a strict, one-size-fits-all approach to managing the pandemic, such as mandating that all visitors self-quarantine for 14 days, Eva uses real-time data to learn, customize recommendations, and support decision-makers as they balance public safety, economic growth; and intelligently allocate valuable testing resources, according to the researchers,” said Drakopoulos.
The process begins with a simple form completed 24 hours before arrival in Greece to build a risk profile for each visitor. Based on that profile, Eva suggests which visitors should be tested for COVID-19 on arrival and which can safely be admitted without testing.
Crucially, Eva uses past data and optimization to simultaneously improve its own risk predictions while also identifying sick visitors before they enter the country, all subject to Greece’s current COVID-19 testing capacity.
The system provides several benefits for travelers and decision makers by leveraging data to enhance public safety:
- Efficiency: With as many as 40,000 people per day arriving at points of entry around the country, Greece cannot test everyone who might bring coronavirus into the country. Using data to assess risk factors focuses testing on the riskiest travelers, enhancing public health and safety while responsibly allocating valuable testing resources.
- Convenience: A streamlined operations including the pre-arrival form, expedited testing, and seamlessly connected databases minimizes disruptions to travelers. Most travelers are not subject to additional screening, and those who are are usually on their way to enjoying Greece within 24 hours without wasting valuable vacation time.
- Responsiveness: By leveraging real-time data to allocate resources, Eva’s analytics support rapid decision-making, allowing policy-makers to quickly respond to unexpected super-spreader events or flare-ups.
No screening procedure can possibly find every infected visitor. Eva dovetails with Greece’s existing contact-tracing system to catch anyone who slips through the cracks. Eva’s risk-profiles, test allocations and other data analytics form a real-time dashboard, visually representing the latest information to the Greek Government to inform decision-making.
“New testing results are continuously incorporated into the dynamic learning algorithm, giving Eva a distinct advantage over static COVID-19 screening policies,” said Bastani. “This is an exciting step forward in evidence-based policy-making.”