National Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth has defended the development of a tracking app for COVID-19 cases.
Dr Coatsworth said the app would use Bluetooth technology to establish when the phone’s owner had been in “close contact” with somebody for a period of more than 15 minutes.
Dr Coatsworth acknowledged the fears over privacy, saying he agreed that protecting privacy was a necessity.
But he said at the moment, the app would be a “fundamental weapon” in the fight against the disease, at least until a vaccine is developed.
“The app will offer an enhanced ability for case detection and the interruption of transmission chains,” he said.
The app, called TraceTogether, is already being used overseas and works by tracking the location and all movements of the user allowing them to be notified if they’ve come close with a confirmed case of the virus.
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It also allows you to contact your doctor after being notified and to track your symptoms.
While the app is likely to generate debate over cyber security and privacy, others suggest it’s a small price to pay to protect the health of the community.
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For the app to work effectively, roughly 40 per cent of the population would need to be using it.
The app was originally developed in Singapore and is being used in China and the Czech Republic.
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