Deputy CMO Defends Launch Of COVIDSafe App Before Contact Tracing Facility Is Live
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer has defended the roll out of the COVIDSafe app despite the contract tracing facility yet to go live.
Professor Michael Kidd said that by Saturday afternoon, four million people had download the app since its launch on last Sunday.
The COVIDSafe app uses Bluetooth connections to determine who infected people came into close contact with.
However, Kidd conceded at a press conference on Saturday that the app is not live yet.
The contact tracing facilities around the states and territories, which will use the data on the app to notify users if they have come into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, will not be launched until some time in the next week.
“The important thing is that people have downloaded the app and have it running in the background on their phone, it’s already gathering details of people who you have been in close contact with,” he said.
“Once it gets accessed by the contact tracer, they will be able to access details from when you downloaded the app.”
Kidd said there is currently a delay from now until the contract tracing facility in the user's state or territory has activated the system.
The Deputy CMO said the app was implemented quickly and authorities are “making sure’ the operations will work safely and appropriately.
“But also to make sure that the people in the contact-tracing facilities in the states and territories are trained on how to use the app and how to use it appropriately,” he added.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians has “earned an early mark” to relax restrictions, but only if “millions” more people download the app.
Kidd believes it is "realistic" to expect millions more to sign up before the national cabinet sits next Friday to consider lifting restrictions.
Just under 6800 virus cases have been reported across the country, with the death toll standing at 93 -- extremely low by international standards.