Covid Tracer app updated
Posted at 3:26pm Thursday 30 Jul, 2020 | By Media release Author
An update to the NZ Covid Tracer app allowing users to add manual entries to their digital diary was released by the Ministry of Health today.
New Zealanders can now use NZ Covid Tracer to record their visits to locations without a QR code or visits to friends and whanau, which means the app can be used to maintain a complete – and private – record.
Fast and effective contact tracing is a key defence against the virus and will be critical to minimising the risk of spread.
Director-General of Health Dr Bloomfield says that many people will have difficulty recalling all the places they visit on any given week, adding to the time and effort required to build up an accurate picture.
If required, NZ Covid Tracer allows users to provide a list of the locations visited in the past 31 days, which will give contact tracers a head-start on identifying anyone else who may have been exposed to the virus.
"This will help us quickly break the chain of transmission," Dr Bloomfield says.
The manual diary feature doesn't remove the need for all businesses and organisation to get their QR codes and display them.
“It's a lot easier for customers if they can scan the code instead of having to create a manual entry, and it also makes it a lot easier to issue contact alerts if needed. Contact alerts allow us to quickly inform people who may have been exposed to Covid-19 so they can take immediate steps protect themselves and their whanau."
The second enhancement makes the app compatible with phones that use Android 6 and iOS 11, which means about 95 per cent of smartphone users are now able to use the app.
The Ministry will continue to develop the NZ Covid Tracer, which includes looking at how Bluetooth tracing technology such as the Apple/Google exposure notification framework can be incorporated within the app to best support contact tracing.
“While Bluetooth wasn't developed for the purpose of proximity detection and the experience from other countries has highlighted a number of technical challenges, it has the potential to help detect and notify people who may have been in contact with COVID-19,” Deputy Director-General Data and Digital Shayne Hunter says.
For the current update, NZ Covid Tracer will update automatically unless automatic updates have been disabled on the user's phone.
New Zealanders can download or manually update NZ Covid Tracer through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Businesses and other organisations can generate their official NZ Covid Tracer QR codes via the Ministry's website at www.health.govt.nz/nz-covid-tracer-qr.
Information about NZ Covid Tracer is available from www.health.govt.nz/NZ-COVID-Tracer.