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The Australian Department of Health has released a new app called COVIDSafe. The purpose of the app is to identify close contacts of COVID-19. The app helps state and territory health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. It speeds up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk, which reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community.

COVIDSafe recognises other devices with the app installed and Bluetooth enabled. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code – it doesn’t collect your location.

To be effective, all you’ll need to do is leave the COVIDSafe app and your bluetooth running as you go about your daily business and come into contact with people. Users will receive daily notifications to ensure the COVIDSafe app is running.

The information is encrypted and that encrypted identifier is stored securely on your phone. The contact information stored in people’s mobiles is deleted on a 21-day rolling cycle. This period takes into account the COVID-19 incubation period and the time it takes to get tested.

If an app user tests positive for COVID-19:

When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, state and territory health officials will ask them or their parent/guardian who they have been in contact with. If they have the COVIDSafe app and provide their permission, the encrypted contact information from the app will be uploaded to a highly secure information storage system.

State and territory health officials will then:

  • use the contacts captured by the app to support their usual contact tracing
  • call people to let them or their parent/guardian know they may have been exposed
  • offer advice on next steps, including:
    • what to look out for
    • when, how and where to get tested
    • what to do to protect friends and family from exposure

Health officials will not name the person who was infected. For more information and answers to questions you might have, please check out the Department of Health’s FAQ’s.

If you feel that this is something that would benefit you, you can download COVIDSafe on the App Store or in Google Play.