President Cyril Ramaphosa.

NYAKALLO TEFU

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the launch of a tracing mobile app that will help curb the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa.

Ramaphosa has called the COVID-19 pandemic the “gravest crisis in the history of our democracy”.

The new COVID Alert South Africa is a cutting-edge mobile application that uses the Exposure Notification system created by Apple and Google in line with global best practice. It uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have been in contact with coronavirus, including strangers in retail stores, in public transport or in any public space.

The app was launched on Tuesday by the Department of Health to ncrease efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“It gives everyone the chance to understand their exposure to the virus, so that we can protect every member of the community, especially those most at risk,” said Ramaphosa.

“I encourage every South African to download this app, which is an important, innovative and necessary part of protecting ourselves, our families, our co-workers and our communities. The more South Africans download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping a second wave of COVID-19 infection. But even as we use the app, we must still wear cloth masks, wash or sanitise our hands regularly, maintain social distancing and take all other precautions to keep safe. Let’s use COVID Alert South Africa. The power is in our hands.

The Department of Health said the COVID Alert SA app will go a long way in helping protect citizens from contracting COVID‑19.

“The app asks users to choose to anonymously share that they have contracted COVID‑19, and this information is used to inform other app users of their potential exposure to the disease so that they can act to protect their loved ones and others,” said the department in a statement.

The department added that the more people download and use the app each day, the better the quality of protective information accessible to all app users becomes.

South Africa currently has over 600 000 active Covid-19 cases, and more than 14 000 deaths since the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa.

The department added that the app will help users understand the COVID‑19 exposure risk.

“When app users with whom you have had recent close contact anonymously report that a test has shown they have COVID‑19 (to the app), you soon receive an exposure notification alert so that you know you’ve had contact with someone who has COVID‑19,” said the department. 

(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)

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