Australia launches contact tracing app, Australia/NZ News & Top Stories


At least one million Australians have downloaded the Covid-19 tracer app, which aims to help health officials identify people who may have come into contact with someone with the disease.

By 8.30 am on Monday 1.13 million Australians had downloaded it, health minister Greg Hunt said.

Nearly two million Australians have downloaded the coronavirus tracing app within a day of its release, far exceeding expectations.

The announcement comes as the Australian Government launched its own voluntary app, created to limit the spread of Covid-19 through an early notification system. The government says the app does not collect location data and that an infected person must give consent for their data to be shared.

Scott Morrison and his ministers have been at pains to emphasise that the data will only be accessible by state and territory health departments, anonymised, and used exclusively for the goal of containing COVID-19.

And let's not forget one key feature of an app: no one (especially not the Government) can access the data without a user's permission. "Only a state public health official can be given access to that data".

"What we've done here is put in place what we believe are the strongest protections ever", Mr Hunt said.

But privacy experts say there needs to be more transparency about the development of the app to ensure public support.

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CENTRAL Queensland families in rural and remote communities are urged to download the new Covid-19 tracing app.

'The Chief Medical Officer's advice is we need the COVIDSafe app as part of the plan to save lives and save livelihoods.

"That information can only be unlocked by the health officer at the state and territory level in direct communication with the person from whom, who has contracted the coronavirus in releasing that information into the data store".

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"My office already this morning has received multiple phone calls from senior citizens wanting to navigate the download of the app using different phones". Your phone does not need to be unlocked for the app to work.

"The COVID-19 COVIDSafe app will assist in the contact tracing process, that laborious slow process which, together with the marvellous community response, has been implicitly responsible for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community and flattening the curve", Dr Bartone said. Plus, what data that is collected has a 21-day expiration date; after that, it vanishes.

The government has said 40 per cent - or some 10 million people - would be needed for contact-tracing to be most successful.