- The first coronavirus contact tracking application based on the Apple-Google COVID-19 propagation API launched in Switzerland to some categories of users.
- Latvia will launch its own standard-based app nationwide as soon as it receives approval from the App Store and Google Play.
- Other US States and Countries USA They are working on similar applications based on the Apple-Google standard for iPhone and Android, as there is a greater need to control the spread of COVID-19 and warn people about possible exposure to the virus.
Apple and Google signed a landmark partnership a few weeks ago to develop a common application standard that would allow governments to conduct sophisticated contact tracking campaigns that could help them contain the new coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 is more contagious than we would have expected, having infected more than 5.7 million people worldwide as of Wednesday morning and claiming the lives of more than 353,000 patients. Countries such as South Korea, Iceland, Germany, Vietnam, and New Zealand stood out in testing and tracing contacts in previous months. But as the curve has flattened out in most places and social distancing measures have slackened, there are many second-wave concerns. New outbreaks are possible, and sustained testing and propagation follow-up campaigns will be required to prevent widespread transmission. Definitely, tools like the Apple-Google API that can be used in tracking applications are needed to scale up contact tracking far beyond what human tracers could accomplish. The first country to launch an app based on the Apple-Google standard is Switzerland, and Latvia and other European countries will follow soon.
The Swiss Coronavirus Contact Tracking App will initially be available to members of the Swiss Army, hospital workers, and public officials. The app is called SwissCovid and will soon be available to the general population, according to BBC.
The Apple-Google API provides developers with continuous access to Bluetooth on iPhone and Android, as well as various security and privacy features designed to protect the identity of users and prevent data collection. API-based applications will allow phones to talk to establish a link via Bluetooth and store the record of that interaction. In this entire process, only one anonymous ID from each interaction record is stored in a database, making the Apple-Google form the most private contact tracking technology proposed so far.
When a person confirms their positive diagnosis of COVID-19 within the app, the phone will ping that database. The other phones will continue to download the same database and look for positives. This is how you might be told that you may have been around a person infected with the new coronavirus at some point in the past two weeks, and you will be warned that some action may be required.
Apple's app uses a decentralized model because no authority could collect data on users. Centralized applications, like the one the UK has been testing, and which has received a lot of criticism lately, as experts have already found seven security flaws in the application. France is looking to implement its own contact tracking application, one that would not use the Apple-Google APIs.
Members of parliament will have to debate and approve the Swiss application before it is available to the public. But 70% of Swiss residents already support the initiative, BBC notes
Latvia is about to launch its Apturi Covid application on Thursday, as the application does not depend on a vote in parliament. Apple has approved it and Google must do the same for the application to appear in the Play Store. Latvia could become the first country to implement an Apple-Google based COVID-19 tracking application that would be available across the country. "Of course we would be very happy to be the first (national launch), but the most important thing is to help our inhabitants fight the virus," said a Latvian spokesperson. BBC.
"The developers believe that reliance on this standard will ensure widespread adoption and also compatibility over time with contact tracking applications worldwide that are also expected to adopt the same exposure notification framework," the developers said. of the application Reuters earlier this week. In fact, the API would allow tracking of contacts across borders, which could be beneficial for large countries like the United States and the entire European Union.
Apple and Google have already confirmed that some 22 countries and some US states. USA They have already requested access to the API.