The most populous state in Australia, and the country with the most coronavirus cases, has not been able to use the Covidsafe application for contact tracing.
In nearly a month since it was launched, more than 5.87 million Australians have downloaded and registered to use the Covidsafe contact-tracking application, which is designed to make it easier for state health officials to find close contact if there is a positive test for coronavirus by users. .
Last week, state health department contact tracers received training on how to access data, but no states have reported using data for contact tracing.
Guardian Australia understands NSW Health has tested the data but has problems integrating it into existing contact tracking methods, and the Digital Transformation Agency is contacted by the department to fix technical issues.
The Digital Transformation Agency raised questions about this issue to the federal health department.
The federal health department initially refused to answer specific questions about this problem, instead of giving a general statement stating now to have access to application data.
In a statement given after publication, the department said it “did not know” the technical problems facing NSW, but the department welcomed feedback on the application.
“We welcome and expect ongoing feedback and evaluation from the operation of the application because more restrictions are easing and there is a possibility of an outbreak, allowing contacts to be notified more quickly, such as by opening pubs and increasing use of public transportation and travel. “
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, the chief NSW health officer, Dr. Kerry Chant told reporters that the country was still “evaluating” the application, and showing a low number of cases meant the less likely the data would be used.
“We really have a pretty low case rate over the last few weeks that I really like [about]. “And obviously, with our case in the hotel quarantine, they actually do not have any contact and that is one of the benefits,” he said.
“We are evaluating the use of the Covidsafe application … we will use it in every new case identified where there is a potential contact and we will update you about the utility but there is a formal evaluation underway and we are working closely with Commonwealth colleagues. “
Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, reported on Saturday that Victoria had also not used application data. Victoria has the second highest number of coronavirus cases nationally, and has more cases confirmed in the last week than other states and territories.
“No, we have not received detection through the Covidsafe application to date,” he said. “There is already work on privacy and security from the perspective of the Victoria department, but as I understand it, data is being made available to the department,” he said.
That is understood Queensland also haven’t found anyone who tested positive for the corona virus who also used this application.
The head of state health officer is preparing a report on the application to be presented to the medical chief this weekend.
The federal government sold the application to the public as a key to reducing restrictions across the country, but last week when the Senate debated the law for the application, foreign minister Marise Payne admitted the number of downloads of the application was not a consideration of the national cabinet in easing restrictions.
“The approach to easing restrictions, as you will see through the national cabinet process, is based on health advice received through [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee], where it is possible to do Australia and Australia.
“And states and territories use it as a premise, not based on the number of people who have downloaded the application.”
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