Australia retires $21m CovidSafe contact-tracing app that discovered simply two distinctive instances | Australia information

Australia’s CovidSafe app is being decommissioned as a result of it’s not getting used for Covid-19 contact tracing.

The app value round $75,000 a month to run and was touted by former prime minister Scott Morrison as an necessary measure on par with sporting sunscreen.

It was barely used within the Delta and Omicron outbreaks regardless of greater than 7 million Australians downloading it to assist contact tracers, and since launching in April 2020, simply 17 “shut contacts” in New South Wales had been discovered immediately via the app that weren’t in any other case recognized via guide contact-tracing strategies.

On Tuesday customers of the app had been provided an replace that “removes performance of the app so no info is saved or collected”.

“This can allow [the] decommission strategy of CovidSafe,” it stated, citing the actual fact the app “is not being utilized in contact tracing”.

In an announcement the well being minister, Mark Butler, stated “this failed app was a colossal waste of greater than $21m of taxpayers cash”.

Butler revealed Covidsafe “solely discovered two distinctive constructive Covid instances at the price of greater than $10m every”.

“It’s clear this app failed as a public well being measure and that’s why we’ve acted to delete it.”

On 31 July Butler made a willpower the app “is not required to forestall or management; the entry, emergence, institution or unfold of the coronavirus often called Covid‑19”.

The Privateness Act states that the chief medical officer or the Australian Well being Safety Principal Committee have to be consulted earlier than such a transfer.

The willpower will finish the gathering of knowledge on the app from 16 August, means it would not be obtainable to be downloaded, and requires that every one information collected on it’s deleted “as quickly as fairly practicable”. Butler confirmed no CovidSafe app information shall be retained.

In December, a report on the operation of the app, launched this month, revealed between Could and November 2021, contact tracers downloaded information from the app simply 13 occasions, with solely two potential shut contacts recognized via the app.

Since its launch in 2020, there had been 792 individuals with Covid importing information from the app, with 2,829 potential shut contacts recognized.

In April 2020, Morrison described the app as “your ticket … to a Covid-safe Australia the place we are able to go concerning the issues that we love doing as soon as once more”.

“Downloading the app is like placing on sunscreen to exit into the solar. It offers us safety as a nation.”

In July 2020 Morrison stated it will “ridiculous” and “harmful” to cease utilizing the app, suggesting its restricted use was as a result of low Covid case numbers and obtain charges.

“We’re at about 40% downloads throughout the potential inhabitants who can obtain that app.

“Now, which means there’s 60% of the inhabitants who hasn’t, however at 40%, that’s one of many highest charges for an app of that kind on the planet. And so it is a crucial safeguard.”

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