Covid-19: Australia launches contact tracing app based on S'pore's TraceTogether

Same same but different.

Guan Zhen Tan| April 26, 07:22 PM

Australia has launched COVIDSafe, a contact tracing app on Apr. 26.

Based on local tracing app

The app is based on Singapore's open-source TraceTogether app.

Similarly, COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth signals to enable community-driven contact tracing through short-distance Bluetooth signals between mobile phones that have the app installed.

As such, in the event the user is tested positive for Covid-19, the app will be able to facilitate the contact-tracing process.

The launch of the app comes as some states in Australia may begin to ease social distancing rules in the coming weeks, as the number of daily new infections have dropped significantly.

Australia currently has 6,711 cases, with 16 new cases on Apr. 26.

Of the 6,711 confirmed cases in Australia, 83 have died and 5,539 have been reported as recovered.

Privacy concerns

The Australian government hopes that at least 40 per cent of the population downloads the app, to make the app effective.

There have been some privacy concerns over the use of the app, but the Australia Government Department of Health assured that the information can only be accessed by state and territory health officials "if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded".

Much like the TraceTogether app, geolocation data is also not collected, and records of encounters are encrypted and stored locally on each user’s phone for 21 days.

A legislative directive to ensure that the data can only be assessed by health officials for contact-tracing purposes will be proposed to the Australian parliament in May, the Department of Health added.

Top image via Steven Marshall's Facebook video