Effectiveness of SA’s Covid-19 tracing app depends on public

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Sep 19, 2020

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Cape Town – South Africa’s Covid-19 contact tracing app has been downloaded less than 1 000 times, since it was launched earlier this month.

The app which notifies users if they have been in contact with the coronavirus, including strangers in retail stores, in public transport, or in any public space, will only be effective if more South Africans download and install it on their mobile devices.

During his address to the nation on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to use the government’s coronavirus contact-tracing app.

“I want to make a call this evening to everyone who has a smartphone in South Africa to download The Covid Alert mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.The app has been zero-rated by mobile networks, so you can download it without any data costs,” he said.

For some South Africans a big marketing drive, is what is needed to make sure as many people as possible use it.

“An excellent solution that provides for maximum privacy, more than most apps we use because you don’t even have to provide personal information or location data. Most importantly, if most people use it, we will get an early warning of any potential exposure we could have had. But there needs to be a big marketing drive to make sure as many people as possible use it,” said Jim Paterson.

While, Willem van Dalen another app user, said he was a little disappointed that so few people have actually installed and started using the app.

“Great app, and excellent initiative to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa. I am a little disappointed however, firstly that the government took so long to release the app (our worst has already come to pass), and secondly so few people have actually installed the app. Truly, ignorance and stupidity will be the downfall of us all,” he said.

The app is free and available to anyone based in South Africa.

Where you can download the app

South Africa’s official Covid-19 tracing app is available on the Google Play Store for Android phones, or on the Apple App store for iPhones.

How the app works:

* Download it

* Enable notifications and Bluetooth

* Let the app run in the background

* The app will send you an exposure notification if you’re ever in close contact with another app user who tests positive for Covid-19.

* Tell you how to limit the spread of Covid-19 to others.

* Tell you how to manage your health and track any Covid-19 symptoms.

If you test positive for Covid-19,  you can choose to enter your unique PIN (it’s sent to you via SMS from the National Department of Health with your test result), as well as date of birth, into the app.

The app will ask you for permission to share random codes stored on your phone with a central server.

Other smartphones using the Covid Alert SA app  will receive a notification that the device user (an anonymous fellow member of the app community) has had potential exposure to Covid-19 over the past 14 days.

Coronavirus Monitor

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