New smartphone app protecting our communities

The Federal Government’s new COVIDSafe smartphone application is a critical step forward to save lives and better protect our community against the spread of coronavirus.

COVIDSafe will provide accurate information that will speed up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus. Participation is voluntary.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said downloading the app would move us a step closer to normal life.

“I have chosen to sign up to COVIDSafe because better contact tracing will make it possible to quickly identify people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus,” Ms Bath said.

“Boosted contact tracing means outbreaks can be quickly identified and gives confidence that we can keep our community safe with more relaxed restrictions.”

Ms Bath said the more Australians who download the app, the better our response in dealing with and containing future outbreaks will be. 

“Many people are craving a little more freedom from restrictions,” said Ms Bath.

“The COVIDSafe App is the best way to respond and return life to a more normalised state.”

Information collected in the app cannot be accessed unless, and until, a person is diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Once the person who has tested positive agrees and uploads the data, it will only be accessed by the relevant state or territory public health officials for the purpose of contract tracing to minimise the spread of a cluster outbreak.

The leader of The Nationals in Victoria Peter Walsh said improved contact tracing would help to maintain the low rate of positive cases in regional Victoria.

“I commend each and every Victorian for their efforts to comply with restrictions on gatherings and social distancing rules, because it has saved lives,” Mr Walsh said.

“We’ve made big changes because we know it’s best for our community. The COVIDSafe health initiative will be a valuable tool to respond quickly to outbreaks.”

Ms Bath said the COVIDSafe app is not intrusive and does not build and collect personal profile information like social media or gaming apps. 

“It has been designed as a secure way of making a digital handshake with other users’ devices by noting the date, time and duration of the contact.

“It is an innovative technological solution to a health challenge, and we have everything to gain by downloading it.”

Through the COVIDSafe App the only information state officials can access is that of close contacts only when a person has come within approximately 1.5 metres of another app user for 15 minutes or more.

Once the coronavirus pandemic is over and Australia no longer needs the app, the app and the information on it will be deleted permanently.

The app can be downloaded from the GooglePlay and Apple stores. For more information visit www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app

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