Australia has launched COVIDSafe, a contact tracing app based on source from Singapore’s TraceTogether software, aimed to efficiently trace potential COVID-19 carriers in the case of a positive diagnosis. The app uses a Bluetooth wireless signal to exchange a “digital handshake” with another user when they come within 1.5m (4.9ft). It helps identify people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Users register their name (or pseudonym), phone number, postcode, and age range.
- The information will be stored encrypted on a government server. If someone has tested positive, the health authorities can track who has been within 1.5 meters of the person for 15 minutes or more. Close contacts will be notified.
- All data would be wiped after 21 days, or when someone deletes the app from their phone.
- Only state health authorities authorized to trace contacts will be able to access the app data. This will be backed up by legislation to be introduced into parliament in May.
- According to the government, some 40% of the population would need to download it for maximum effectiveness. As of April 27, more than two million people in Australia have downloaded the app.
- It is expected to help keep people safe from further spread of COVID-19 through early notification of possible exposure.
Source(s): The Guardian, BBC, Bloomberg