Limerick says yes as thousands of people download new Covid Tracking App

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Limerick says yes as thousands of people download new Covid Tracking App

The new Covid Tracking App is now live

THOUSANDS of people across Limerick have already downloaded the new Covid-19 Tracking App.

The app, which can be downloaded for free to most smartphones, was launched by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly this Tuesday morning.

A poll of Limerick Leader readers on Twitter and Instagram, suggests around two thirds of people on Shannonside will download the new app while around 20% will not.

“As we ease restrictions, many important aspects of Irish life are returning and we are able to access more services and to meet more people. The introduction of the Covid Tracker App will allow us to speed up reporting and tracing from the first onset of the symptoms of Covid-19, making the app’s role in testing and contact tracing vital to the continued momentum of the reopening of Irish society and business,” said Minister Donnelly.

Developed by the Health Service Executive, in conjunction with Apple and Google, the free app uses Bluetooth technology to identify those who were within two metres of a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more.

Users of the app, which is anonymous, can also receive updates and information about Covid-19 in Ireland and they can ‘check-in” daily to report if they are showing any symptoms of Covid-19.

While health officials are looking to get around a 60% uptake of the app among the target population, they say that any level of uptake will be useful. More than 500,000 people have already downloaded the app across the country.

“The app will enhance the existing contact tracing operations. For those using the app, it can mean a reduction in the time it takes to trace close contacts from days to hours and, importantly, it can also help to identify close contacts who are not known to each other. Every additional contact that the app can trace will improve our existing contact tracing operations. By downloading the app, you are helping us to reach more people in a shorter time period and to provide the right advice and access to testing. This will increase our capacity to suppress the virus,” said Paul Reid, CEO of the HSE.

The app development process has been led by the HSE and the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and An Garda Síochána, together with technical partners from the Irish private sector and scientific partners from Science Foundation Ireland.

“We are asking the people of Ireland to download the Covid Tracker App. Until we have a vaccine, or an effective treatment, testing and contact tracing are vital to our ongoing collective efforts to minimise the spread of Covid-19,” said Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health.

”The app is integral to contact tracing, working in tandem with the key public health measures of social distancing, hand washing, covering our coughs and wearing face coverings, helping us to stay safe and to protect each other,” he added.