Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison appealed to the Australian public, telling them that they should download the COVIDSafe app if they want to go back to the pub (or restaurant, or cafe) …
The COVIDSafe app helps government health officials quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, by speeding up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Since it’s launch last Sunday night, four million Australians have downloaded COVIDSafe, a number well short of the 40 per cent the government said it needed for the app to be effective in minimising cases.
There have also been suggestions that businesses should encourage patrons to download the COVIDSafe app, as part of creating a safe working environment, which in turn could help speed up the re-opening of the hospitality sector.
Coincidentally, Australian businesses – including those in the the hospitality sector – are being urged by the Federal Government to start planning how they can re-open and operate safely, once COVID restrictions are eased.
Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said in an interview on Channel Seven’s Sunrise yesterday, that businesses need to work towards having a COVID-safe workplace, and that they should start working on their re-opening action plan.
Thoughts for creating a COVID-safe workplace may include limiting the number of people allowed in a venue, using floor markings and regularly cleaning door handles, buttons and handrails – all areas that are frequently touched and which have been recognised as high-risk coronavirus transmitters.
The 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.
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 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.
- 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