One million people have now downloaded Ireland’s Covid-19 tracker app

Minister hails number of downloads in less than two days as a huge achievement

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has urged all members of the public to download the new Covid-19 contact-tracing app in order to protect themselves and others. Video: RTÉ

 

Some one million people have now downloaded the HSE’s new tracker app which is aimed at helping identify close contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said on Wednesday night the app comes at an important time as we begin to move about more “and will support us in managing future cases” of the virus.

“The app won’t make you immune to the virus but it can help to reduce the risk. Lets keep it going. Please sign up and encourage your network to do so also,” he said on Twitter.

In a statement issued by the HSE he added: “I would encourage those who have not yet downloaded the app to do so, and for the 1 million people who have already downloaded the app, I would ask them to share it with their friends and families. The more people who download the app the greater its impact will be.”

The app was launched on Tuesday and given the number of downloads he said earlier it is “by far the most successful launch of this app anywhere in the world.

“Well done Ireland. Please keep it going and protect everyone by downloading it now,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said that throughout the pandemic, the Irish people have shown great solidarity and were still showing it.

“One million downloads in less than two days is a huge achievement, and I want to thank everyone who has downloaded it, and especially the team who have worked so hard to develop it.

“Using this app means you are protecting yourself, you are protecting your family, you are protecting your friends, and you are protecting many people you don’t know. I’m asking you to take the two minutes and download it now.”

If a person using the app tests positive for Covid-19 they can choose to anonymously alert other app users who they have been in close contact with, including people they may not know. Those who receive an alert will also have quick and easy access to advice and testing, the HSE said, adding that this will support existing testing and contact tracing measures that are in place.

Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, Mr Reid said that use of the app could see a reduction in the time required to trace close contacts of someone who tested positive from days to hours. He also said the app cost about €850,000 to develop with an annual running cost of €350,000 to €400,000.

Eleven new cases of the virus were confirmed in the State on Wednesday.

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer at the Department of Health, said the app “is an important tool to support our contact tracing systems”.

“It has the potential to reduce the time that people are active in the community with infection, which will have a significant impact on the transmission of the disease,” he said.

“The more people who download and use this app, the more effective it will be. It is a further opportunity for us to play our part in the response to Covid-19.”

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