The Australian government’s “COVIDSafe” app has reached over 1 million downloads in 24 hours since it was launched, said federal health minister Greg Hunt on April 27.
Hunt said that Australians had responded magnificently to the app’s launch in an interview with Sky News.
“COVIDSafe” was launched on April 26 by the health minister to help Australian health care professionals with contact tracing for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hunt said in a joint media release on April 26, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert, and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, that “we need the COVIDSafe app as part of the plan to save lives and save livelihoods.”
He continued saying that the more people who download the app, “the safer they and their family will be, the safer their community will be, and the sooner we can safely lift restrictions and get back to business and do the things we love.”
Support From the Medical Community
Throwing its support behind the app, the Australian Medical Association’s President Tony Bartone announced the AMA believed that “COVIDSafe” would be an important way to “contain the spread of COVID-19 in the Australian community.”
Bartone also posted on Twitter that he would be downloading the app and encouraging his patients to do the same.
“COVIDSafe” is based on Singapore’s “Trace Together” app and relies on Bluetooth technology to log the connections a user makes with other phones. Then in the event that a user catches the virus all those they came into contact with can be alerted via state health authorities. All collected data is encrypted and will be deleted after 21 days.
Concerns Over the App
In a joint statement, digital privacy watchdog groups Digital Rights Watch, Human Rights Law Centre, and the Centre For Responsible Technology said the app’s source code should be published and that the government should create an independent authority to watch over the data.