Health

ACT to switch off COVID-19 contact tracing app

The ACT government has decided to decommission the Check in CBR mobile application that was used during the pandemic for contact tracing.

Rachel Stephen-Smith, ACT Minister of Health, stated that the app would be closed from December 1st.

She stated that the app was no longer needed as the ACT is moving towards COVID-19 management in a way that is more consistent and comparable to other infectious diseases.

THE LONGER CONTEXT

In September 2020, Check in CBR was created to assist in the contact tracing for COVID-19 cases within the ACT. After scanning a QR code at public places, it logs the user’s location. The app can store a person’s vaccine certificate and link to report a positive COVID-19.

The state made it non-compulsory to use the app in February after it relaxed its check-in procedures. The app was to get a new feature that would notify users if they were in high COVID-19-risk areas.

Three months later, the government lifted the mandate to use the app for checking-in.

Minister Stephen-Smith praised the app for being a valuable resource for workers and the wider community, and for its contribution to ACT Health’s pandemic response.

Check in CBR was downloaded more than 1.25 million times. It has recorded 117 million checkins at over 29,000 locations. The app has been used to share more than 250,000 vaccination certificates.

It was shut down in the wake of a similar federal government move to decommission the national call tracing app COVIDSafe in August.

New Zealand has decided to keep contact tracing apps despite Australian governments moving away from them. The Ministry of Health made the NZ COVIDTracer app open-source a few weeks ago. This allows researchers and developers to build trust in its integrity. The app is no longer needed for contact tracing. However, the Health ministry requested that users keep it in case of future outbreaks.

 

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