Operators in Italy, Germany and Austria provided data to health authorities to assess if citizens were adhering to movement restrictions introduced to help limit the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus), Reuters reported.

Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italy, Wind Tre, Telekom Austria and Deutsche Telekom delivered anonymous data enabling authorities to map subscribers’ movements, the news agency stated, noting care had been taken to ensure this did not breach European data protection regulations.

Vodafone told Reuters it supplied aggregated data and a heat map for the Lombardy region of Italy, which the news outlet noted was the hardest hit area in the country.

Overall data for the area showed a 60 per cent drop in movements of more than 500 metres.

Lothar Wieler, president of German’s agency for disease control and prevention the Robert Koch Institute, cautioned it would be hard to contain the outbreak if people ignored movement restrictions at a time when the country was set for a rapid rise in infections.

Telekom Austria, meanwhile, adapted a motion analysis application developed by software company Invenium to predict traffic congestion and the number of visitors to tourist attractions, Reuters explained.