MELBOURNE – The Australian government launched the controversial corona virus tracking application on Sunday and promised to enact a privacy protection law around it when authorities try to bring the country and economy back to a more normal footing.
Neighboring Australia and New Zealand have both managed to control their coronavirus outbreak before the outbreak of the public health system, but officials in both countries continue to worry about the risk of another flareup.
“We won, but we haven’t yet,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a television briefing announcing the launch of the application.
The application, which is based on Singapore’s TraceTogether software, uses Bluetooth signals to log in when people are close to each other. This has been criticized by civil liberties groups as an invasion of privacy.
The Australian Government, which wants at least 40% of the population to register to make this effort effective, says voluntary applications, which will not track locations, are safe.
Contact data stored by the application will allow health officials to track people who are potentially affected by the infection.
“This will help us as we strive to return to normal life and the Australian lifestyle,” Hunt said. “Nobody has access to it, not even yourself … only state public health officials can be given access to that data.”
Legislative directives ensure that it will be proposed to parliament in May, the health ministry said on the application’s website on Sunday.
Some countries, including South Korea and Israel, use high-tech contact tracking methods that involve tracking the location of people via telephone networks, although such a centralized and surveillance-based approach is seen as invasive and unacceptable in many countries.
Trust in governments in Australia and New Zealand has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, polls show, with leaders of the two countries – ideologically at odds – praising their management in suppressing the corona virus.
The rate of increase in new cases has been under 1% for two weeks now in both countries – far lower than in many other countries.
On Sunday, the states of Queensland and Western Australia Australia said they would relax a bit of long-distance social rules this week to allow for greater outdoor public meetings, among other things, but officials in Victoria, the second most populous state, said they were not ready to relax by state rules. hard line restrictions.
Australia reported 16 new cases of corona virus on Sunday, totaling 6,703, according to health ministry data. There are 83 deaths.
In New Zealand, four new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 1,121. Eighteen people have died, health ministry data show.
On Monday, New Zealand will begin to ease some of the world’s tightest locking actions, and will also launch a search application soon, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned this is not the only panacea.
“We were very clear from the start that no tracking application provided silver bullets,” Ardern said earlier this month.
(Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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