Coronavirus tracing app which cost taxpayers $1.5million after being hailed as the nation’s ticket out of lockdown has been used less than 30 times in two monthsCOVIDSafe app was hailed the nation’s ticket out of strict lockdown restrictionsThe app was downloaded by 6.5 million Australians since its launched in AprilIt was used lass than 30 times, and only NSW and Victoria have had to use itHere’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Australia’s coronavirus tracing app has been used less than 30 times since its launch almost two months ago. 

The software, which was hailed by government officials as the nation’s ticket out of strict lockdown restrictions, has been downloaded by 6.5 million Australians. It cost taxpayers $1.5 million to design and rollout.

Despite 600 new patients testing positive for the deadly virus since its launch in April, only two states have used it. 

Victoria has used the app 21 times to contact trace potential patients, while New South Wales has used it less than 10 times. 

Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT have not had to use to app once. 

Australia’s coronavirus tracing app has been used less than 30 times since its launch almost two months ago

The software, which was hailed by government officials as the nation’s ticket out of strict lockdown restrictions, has been downloaded by 6.5 million Australians (pictured: Australians wear masks to go shopping in Sydney)

A spokeswoman from South Australia Health told Daily Mail Australia they have had two positive cases since the app launched and both cases had been in hotel quarantine after returning to the United Kingdom. 

A NSW Health spokeswoman said the app had not been used in the past two weeks as their new cases were predominantly people in hotel quarantine.

A Victoria Health spokeswoman said with only a small number of cases being reported each day, they had not needed to use the app as much. 

However, he did stress the importance of the app to stop a possible spike in cases as restrictions continue to be eased.  

A federal Health Department spokesman told The Australian the app was still an important tool for domestic cases. 

‘While we continue to have very few cases, we need every tool we can to continue to protect Australians from any potential outbreak.’

The app uses Bluetooth technology to track users who come in close contact with people who have tested positive to coronavirus

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly spoke about the importance of the app following the Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend. 

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in cities across Australia to show solidarity with the movement and demand an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Mr Kelly told reporters on Monday the COVIDSafe app ‘would be absolutely critical and crucial in this type of setting’.

‘It’s exactly what it is designed to do, is to pick up cases when you don’t know the people around you. 

‘We’ve had a very good uptake of the COVIDSafe app, but the majority of people that have mobile phones have not downloaded the app so far. So, I certainly would encourage people to reconsider that because this is exactly how it would be helpful.’

AUSTRALIA’S COVIDSAFE APP – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The COVID-19 contact tracing app is called COVIDSafe.

It only works on smartphones and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google app stores.

Use of the app is voluntary.

PURPOSE

* To identify people who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 so that they can be advised to take measures to help stop the spread of the disease or get tested.

REGISTRATION

Registration will require users to input their:

* mobile phone number – so they can be contacted if needed for contact tracing.

* name – so the relevant health officials can confirm they are speaking to the right person, although the Health Minister says you can use a fake name if you want.

* age range – so health officials can prioritise cases for contact tracing.

* postcode – to make sure health officials from the right state and territory are dealing with your case.

COVIDSAFE IN USE

The app will record the following contact data:

* the encrypted user ID.

* date and time of the contact.

* the Bluetooth signal strength of other COVIDSafe users you come into contact with. This will be logged every two hours in the National COVIDSafe data store.

* No location data will be collected at any time.

* Contact data stored on a device will be deleted after 21 days.

* All data stored will be deleted once the pandemic has concluded.

PRIVACY

* Personal information collected via COVIDSafe will handled in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and the Biosecurity Determination 2020.

* There will be criminal penalties and anyone breaches someone’s privacy.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health 

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