Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has welcomed the launch of Covid-19 tracker apps in New York and New Jersey based on Irish technology. Ireland’s Covid Tracker App has been one of the most successful in the world, and yesterday New York and New Jersey launched their apps based on the sourced code of the Irish Covid Tracker App.
In the US, the use of the Irish app, dubbed “Covid Green”, was also central pillar of the launch of the apps in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Now it has also been deployed in New York and New Jersey. In addition to US states, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar and Jersey have also launched apps based on the ‘Covid Green’.
Nearly 2 million people in Ireland have download the app since its launch, with an active user base of 1.3 million. This represents 34 per cent of the adult population (aged 16+) in Ireland.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said:
As Minister for Health, I am immensely proud to see other states and countries launching apps based on Irish technology. Ireland has led the way in the development of this innovative technology. This is due to the Irish health system’s role in pioneering the rapid advancement of the technology in close collaboration with Apple and Google and our Waterford-based technical partner Nearform.
The core function of the app is to digitally contact trace close contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19 by swapping anonymous keys through the decentralised approach. In this way the app allows for the identification of close contacts who are unknown to us.
To date, 1,618 users of the Covid Tracker App in Ireland who have tested positive have uploaded their random IDs. Some 3,206 users have received close contact alerts who may not otherwise have been identified.
Minister Donnelly said:
As we reopen parts of our societies, contact tracing apps play a unique role in suppressing the virus by speeding up the contact tracing process and allowing for the identification of close contacts who are unknown to us. The Covid Tracker App can identify these close contacts who are sitting near each other on a bus, in line in a shop, at a sporting event, or eating in a restaurant, who otherwise would be unknown to us.
The success of the app is founded on the solidarity of the Irish people in our aim to suppress the spread of Covid-19. This is a testament to the efforts of the Irish public. We have an incredible foundation on which to keep building. So, I am again calling on the support of the Irish people to download the Covid Tracker App. The more people that download the app the more effective the app will be. As well as washing your hands, physical distancing, practicing good cough and sneezing etiquette, and wearing a face mask, downloading the app is another a simple way to help keep you, your family, and your community safe.
Shortly after its launch in July, the Irish health authorities made the source code for Covid Green available to other public health authorities and their developers across the world to use and customise for free through the Linux Foundation.
This provided the opportunity for apps based on Covid Green to be developed rapidly and the process of interoperability between apps easier.
Ireland and Northern Ireland were the first in the world to achieve interoperability between apps from different jurisdictions. Ireland is now centrally involved in EU work underway to ensure interoperability across the EU.
Building on this achievement, the Irish based apps launching on the East coast of the US will support interoperability between the relevant states in the US.
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