The Australian government has rolled out its COVIDSafe App which is now available from Play Store for both Android and Apple interfaces. Launched on Sunday, April 26 at 6.00 PM, more than one million Australians had downloaded and installed it by 10.30 PM.
Clearly Australians believed the government on its efficacy in Australia’s fight against COVID-19 and the government’s promise of no privacy breaches with strict measures to use data collected by the app to be cemented in legislation.
The government has said no one other than a health officer – not police, and not even users – will be able to check on data collected by the COVID-19 tracing app.
Speaking at the launch, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “It assists in the early alert and finding of people who may have been in contact with a person who is positive with a diagnosis.”
For its legal framework, the app has been activated under the Biosecurity Act as an interim measure until Parliament resumes in Mid-May.
How it works
Oncer installed, the app will use phone’s Bluetooth connectivity to record the Bluetooth connections its resident phone makes with others around it. For the interest of health officials, the person will have had to be within 1.5 metres of the confirmed patient – for about 15 minutes.
If authorities find out that anyone of those connected are COVID-19 positive, all others so connected – recorded by the app will be tracked to let them know and take steps as appropriate.
COVIDSafe App’s Working Scenario:
A health official will contact the person who has tested positive to the virus. If the patient has installed the app on their phone, consent will be sought from the patient to access the data stored in the app on their phone which even they themselves cannot see or access.
After the patient has given consent, the officials will then use that data in their tracing – and will be able to get in touch with others who might have been at risk because of their contact with the patient.
The government insists – only the health officer and NO ONE else will have access to the data.
“No other government agency can use this information. No one in the commonwealth government at all, and in state authorities, only the health officer can use it,” Mr Morrison told a Melbourne radio station.
“Not the police, not the welfare people, nowhere else. Just the health officer” he added.
COVIDSafe app is another tool in Australia’s fight against the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to the government, the doctors and nurses have also backed the technology and called on the public to use it to help save lives.