6mn Australians already use COVID-19 tracking app

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Canberra: Six million citizens in Australia, a country with about 25 million people, have voluntarily downloaded the COVID-19 tracking application that the government launched less than a month ago, authorities said on Sunday.

In a statement, Health Minister Gerg Hunt said the smartphone app is playing a significant role in Australia’s response to the pandemic and that several countries have shown interest in the device’s outcome, reports Efe news.

“Australia continues to be a world leader in coronavirus testing, tracking and containment, and I would encourage all Australians to contribute to that effort and download the COVIDSafe app today,” the Minister said in the statement.

The application was launched on a voluntary basis on April 26, coinciding with Australia’s decision to relax measures to curb the spread of the pandemic after containing its spread.

Once installed and running, the COVIDSafe app uses Bluetooth to search for other phones that also have the app installed, and then securely performs a “digital handshake” that records the date, time, distance, and duration of the contact.

COVIDSafe, which stores information for 21 days – the maximum incubation period for the virus – is used as a tool to simplify the process of identifying contacts after a person tests positive for coronavirus.

Once a contagion is registered, public health professionals can locate with the consent of the affected person all those who have been with their application activated approximately 1.5 meters from him for 15 minutes or more.

Other countries such as Singapore also use this system, while in China or South Korea a tracking method based on the GPS geolocator has been installed.

With 7,106 COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths, Australia has begun to gradually relax measures to curb the spread of the pandemic with a view to a full normalization of economic activity in July.

(Agencies)