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paul reid

Ireland's Covid-19 tracker app reaches 1 million users

“The app wont make you immune to the virus but it can help to reduce the risk,” HSE CEO Paul Reid said.

LAST UPDATE | 8 Jul 2020

HSE CEO PAUL Reid said one million people have downloaded Ireland’s Covid-19 Tracker app – just over a day after the app was launched.

“The app wont make you immune to the virus but it can help to reduce the risk. Lets keep it going,” Reid said on Twitter this evening. 

“By far the most successful launch of this app anywhere in the world,” Reid said earlier. “Well done Ireland. Please keep it going and protect everyone by downloading it now.”

The app is intended to help contact tracing, particularly with people who aren’t family and friends. It uses Bluetooth technology to determine whether you’ve been a close contact of someone who’s tested positive for the virus.

This isn’t technology that has been created for this purpose, so it’s uncertain exactly how effective it could be.

When you download it, the app will ask for permission to collect and share anonymous data in order to facilitate contact tracing. It will also ask for your phone number, age range, and the area you are in – though you don’t have to give those details.

Around 3.6 million people have a smart phone in Ireland, according to Statista, meaning that close to a third of that population will have downloaded the app.

Although it had been suggested that at least 60% of the population need to download the app for it to be effective, the authors of the research upon which this statistic is based have clarified that if any percentage of the population download the app, it can have an effect at combating the spread of the virus.

The research indicates that if 60% of the population download the app, “we can stop the epidemic”. If 80% of the smartphone population download the app, this would also be enough to suppress the virus.

- with reporting from Dominic McGrath

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