Enthusiasm for South Africa’s COVID-19 tracing app

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More than half a million South Africans have already downloaded the country’s COVID-19 tracing app, the Health Department says. The goal is to get 10m users on the app, Gaurang Tanna, policy co-ordination and integrated planning at the national department of health, is quoted in a Business Insider report as saying.

COVID Alert SA is a tiny app available for Android and Apple phones. It uses Bluetooth to watch for other phones with the app installed, and keeps an anonymous record of everyone you have been in contact with over two weeks. If you test positive for COVID-19, you tell the app, and the app tells everyone you had contact with. You should get an alert if anyone you had contact with reports themselves infected.

The usefulness of the app will depend on how many people install it, whether they keep their Bluetooth radios turned on, and how quickly they report positive test results. If another 50,000 people download the app, and each asks two other people to download it too, South Africa could reach 10m downloads within days, the report said.

 

Full Business Insider report

 

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