Australia Covid: Contact tracing app branded expensive ‘failure’
After detecting only two distinct infections, a multi-million dollar Australian software used to track Covid contacts has been deactivated and labelled “a failure.”
Mark Butler, the minister of health, advised consumers to remove the app, calling it a “colossal waste” of government dollars.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised COVIDsafe as “as important as putting on sunscreen.”
The effectiveness of the Bluetooth-based tracking technology, however, has been questioned by experts.
The $14 million (£11.42 million) tool, which was first released in April 2020, was made to assist manual contract tracers in identifying positive Covid infections.
Only 17 close contacts have not been manually located since then, according to Mr Butler, who has repeatedly demanded that the programme be removed.
We took action to remove the app because, in his words, “it is evident that this app failed as a public health measure.”
The country’s former administration, which turned down assistance from tech behemoths Apple and Google, whose contact-tracing system was adopted by more than 50 countries globally, created COVIDsafe.
It was regarded as an essential component of the government’s plan to establish normalcy. However, it was plagued by technical issues right away.
For the app to function correctly, Bluetooth technology required an unlocked iPhone, and users had to proactively consent to the addition and usage of personal data.
On August 16, the app will formally be discontinued. Mr Butler affirmed that no user information would be saved.
The app, according to Mr Morrison, is a ticket to a Covid-safe Australia because it “gives us protection as a nation.”