No technical glitches have been detected so far in the COVID Alert SA App launched a month ago. The App is one of the tools to help health workers speed up the contact tracing process, and help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
After a person tests positive, the App can notify those who came into close contact with that person. About 600 000 people have downloaded the App so far.
The COVID Alert App in South Africa uses the privacy-focused exposure notification designed by apple and google. The app works by using phone to phone communication over Bluetooth and one’s app automatically logs which phone they had been around them and how close they were to another phone.
Data analyst Bryan Turner from the World Wide Worx says after testing positive, the app can notify the person’s close contacts so they can self-quarantine and break the chain of transmission.
“If one gets a positive prognosis, that person will get a pin code to type into the COVID Alert App and those that were close to that person will be notified that they may be at risk of exposure to COVID-19. The app does not disclose who may have exposed the user to COVID19. It merely notifies them that they may be exposed.”
Today we launch South Africa’s contact tracing mobile app that will help curb the spread of the #coronavirus. The #COVIDAlertSA App is now available to help you #StaySafe while protecting those around you. #PlayYourPart and download the app here: https://t.co/LxCYolzJPA #AlertMe pic.twitter.com/uuKZuPEDbN
— Cyril Ramaphosa #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) September 2, 2020
Gaurang Tanna from the Department of Health is the project manager for the COVID Alert App says the app runs without any data costs.
“COVID Alert App works in an anonymous way. Once the app is downloaded, it will ask to enable exposure notification and Bluetooth. The app runs in the background and there are also no data charges. We are approaching close to 600 000 downloads. So, we will be building progressive improvements over time but we haven’t had any reports from any glitches.”
Now that the borders are open to international travelers, Bryan Turner says travelers are not compelled to download the app.
“International travelers will need to consent to participating in South Africa’s exposure notification programme by either downloading the COVID Alert App for South Africa or navigating to the exposure notification section within their devices settings. It’s not mandatory at this time for international travelers to download the COVID Alert App.”
The app is said to protect your privacy and security at all times. It does not need or store any of your personal information.
Below is more information about how the app works :
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