South Africa’s department of health has launched an official COVID-19 contact tracing app. The app, which uses Google’s and Apple’s exposure notification framework, is available for download from both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
This new app, COVID Alert South Africa, complements the already existing COVIDConnect digital support service which launched earlier in July. The former works on both smartphones and feature phones giving users access to COVID-19 news, health information and risk-assessment tools through SMS or WhatsApp.
The COVID Alert app on the other hand automatically notifies users if they have been exposed to the virus through people they met. “The app uses Bluetooth signals to exchange ‘random codes’ with other COVID Alert SA app users. This happens when their smartphones are within 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes,” explains the Department of Health.
How It Works
When you turn on Exposure Notifications your phone shares random IDs with other nearby phones have turned on the Exposure Notifications System. The details shared include date, duration and signal strength associated with exposure.