Coronavirus: Does anybody have a working contact-tracing app?

An advert for the contact tracing app on the corner flags at MainzImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Germany’s contact tracing app was marketed on the nook flags on the latest match between Mainz and Werder Bremen

The declare: No nation on the earth has a working contact-tracing app.

Verdict: There are definitely nations on the earth that might dispute that. Germany’s app is up and operating and India says its app has had 131 million downloads and traced 900,000 folks to inform them to isolate.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on 24 June, Boris Johnson stated: “No country in the world has a working contact-tracing app.”

He had beforehand challenged Labour chief Keir Starmer to call a rustic that has a “functional” contact-tracing app. He replied: “Germany – app working 15 June – 12 million downloads.”

Contact-tracing apps are downloaded to folks’s smartphones and the concept is that if someone checks constructive for Covid-19, the app will have the ability to report whether or not they have been in shut contact with anyone else who had downloaded the app.

The folks with whom they’ve been in shut contact can then be contacted and instructed to isolate themselves.

Germany has undoubtedly launched its app – on 25 June it had been downloaded 13 million occasions.

The variety of downloads is clearly essential to the success of a contact-tracing app as a result of the extra individuals who have it the extra probably you’re to detect an an infection.

When the app was launched, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated: “The Corona-Warn-App is an important tool when it comes to tracing and breaking chains of infection.”

Figures for a way many individuals have been traced by the app haven’t but been printed.

The German well being ministry declined to present an announcement in response to Boris Johnson’s feedback, but it surely clearly believes its app is up and operating.

‘World’s most downloaded’

India launched its app known as Aarogya Setu on 2 April.

The Indian authorities describes its app as probably the most downloaded healthcare app on the earth with round 131 million downloads.

Its newest tracing information was printed a month in the past. So far, the platform has contacted greater than 900,000 customers and instructed them to self-isolate.

The authorities stated that of those that had been really useful for testing, almost 1 / 4 of them examined constructive.

Image copyright Getty Images

‘Excellent complement’

Prof Martin Hibberd from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says there isn’t a query that quite a lot of nations have a working contact tracing app.

“The point is that these apps are working, but not yet reaching sufficient percentages of the population to be relied on as the sole means of contact tracing,” he stated.

“They are an excellent supplement to standard contact tracing though.”

Prof Hibberd highlights Singapore’s Trace Together app which he says has been working since March.

Singapore is now planning to distribute wearable gadgets for folks with out smartphones to extend the proportion of the inhabitants utilizing them.

It has not been a totally easy course of although – there have been complaints that the system drains the cellphone battery, which has led some folks to modify it off.

The nation is operating at about 200 new infections per day in the meanwhile.

Image copyright Getty Images

Low an infection fee

France launched its app three weeks in the past. Two million folks downloaded it (though 460,000 have uninstalled it since) – in keeping with figures introduced at a authorities press convention.

So far, 68 folks used it to say they’d Covid-19 and 14 folks have been traced and warned they’re liable to an infection.

The French Digital Economy Minister Cedric O instructed the briefing that the low numbers mirrored a lower within the variety of infections in France.

France has had about 500 new instances a day prior to now week.

He conceded that the variety of downloads was disappointing in contrast with Germany, however he stated the app can be helpful if there was a recent spike within the variety of instances.

So the French authorities clearly thinks its app is working, even when downloads have been considerably low thus far.

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