Ireland’s coronavirus tracing app is so good others want to use it

When performed right, contact tracing can be a critical resource for public safety during a pandemic.

To track the possible spread of coronavirus, Health Service Executive, Ireland’s public health agency, has developed a contact tracking system that uses Bluetooth signals on smartphones to track the users’ exposures.

Ireland’s public health agency developed a Coronavirus Tracking app as part of contact tracing efforts to address the pandemic.

According to NearForm, which created the app and now has over 1.3 million downloads, or 30 percent of people in Ireland with mobile smartphones, it was launched by one million users in the first 36 hours.

Now Ireland’s Health Service Executive donates the code to the Linux Foundation for the contact tracing app, a charity that manages open-source software.

Nearform CEO Cian O Maidin tweeted that the company was ready to work with any government to help develop the app.

The app, known as COVID Green, uses user interfaces for both the Apple and Google devices, which means it can function on both iOS and Android smartphones.

When you check positive, or anyone else does, the app will use the log to warn people who were exposed and now possibly infected.

The source code is currently accessible on GitHub, and NearForm says the accompanying backend code will also be available shortly.

“We cannot say exactly how many people were warned, because of the decentralized approach of the app,” Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, which developed the app, told BBC.

Hetal Patel

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