SA launches the official COVID-19 tracing app
The National Department of Health has launched the Covid-19 contact tracing app called Covid Alert SA.
Covid Alert SA is South Africa’s free exposure notification app which uses Bluetooth contact tracing technology to let people know when they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. The app is built on the exposure notification Application Programming Interface (IPI) which was created by Google and Apple.
Health Spokesperson, Popo Maja, said that the app is a powerful tool to enable instant notification of contacts.
“When a user tests positive, they are requested to report their diagnosis anonymously in the COVID Alert SA app. When the user does so, all other users with whom they have been in contact with for the past 14 days will be immediately notified of their exposure and prompted through the care pathway. At no point in this process is the identity of any user revealed,” Maja said.
Director General of health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, states the benefits of using the app.
“This technology allows us to effectively break the chain of transmission by dramatically reducing the time between exposure and knowing one has been exposed so that one can take action by self-quarantining and testing when necessary,” she said.
Users will not need to use their mobile data as the app is free to access and does not feature in-app purchases. The app also does not require the user to share their location or provide personally identifiable information.
Gaurang Tanna, who led the app development within the department, urges people to use the app in order for it for work.
“This is a crucial public health intervention to help us suppress COVID-19 and prevent resurgence. It works best when many people download the app. We request everyone to download the app, and those confirmed positive to report their diagnosis so their contacts can be notified,” Tanna said.
The COVID Alert SA app is the only contact-tracing app in the country that is approved by the South African government.
You can download the COVID Alert SA app from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store.