Covid-19 tracing app available for download

Saturday 17 April 2021 | Written by Emmanuel Samoglou | Published in Health

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Covid-19 tracing app available for download
Prime Minister Mark Brown shows off the Cook Islands’ Covid-19 contact tracing app, CookSafe+. PHOTO: Office of the Prime Minister.

The Cook Islands contact tracing app is now available for download for residents with a smartphone.

The app features Bluetooth technology and works by logging encounters with other app users using their Apple or Android devices.

If a user tests positive for Covid-19, they can enter their test result using the app and upload tracing data for analysis.

Close contacts over the past 14 days then receive an alert on their phone that they’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

The app’s developers say people who test positive are not identified to other users, Google, or Apple.

And data is only used by public health authorities for pandemic management.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Eve Hayden said they will begin a public awareness campaign.

“The next block of work will include the Chamber promoting CookSafe+ by asking locals and visitors to download the CookSafe+ app.”

“We will also be there to provide any support required.”

Contact tracing, along with mass testing, have been singled out as two of the most important factors for preparing the health system in advance of any bubble.

This week, Prime Minister Mark Brown said the Government remains committed to its ‘open for business’ date of May 1.

During his address at the launch, Brown said: “The introduction of a contact tracing system compatible with the one used in New Zealand is an important measure that we need to have in place in readiness for a safe border opening.”

“You can think of it like this,” explained the Prime Minister in his launch speech. “While our CookSafe cards help trace the places we visit, the CookSafe+ app helps trace the people we meet.”

“We still need to keep using our cards and keep tagging in everywhere we go – but download the CookSafe+ app and you’ll be adding that extra layer of protection for yourself, for your family and for all of us living here in these beautiful islands we call home.”

In anticipation of the two-way travel bubble between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, a major benefit of CookSafe+ is its interoperability with the NZ COVID Tracer app.

This aspect of interoperability between our two countries’ apps is a first for the Southern Hemisphere and this is only the second time such a system has been set up anywhere in the world.

“We should all be very proud of this achievement,” said Prime Minister Brown. “I know it’s taken us a lot of hard work to get to this point and I am very pleased to see this app up and running today.”

“Our team, led by the Chamber of Commerce and in collaboration with Te Marae Ora, the Office of the Prime Minister, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and app developers Rush Digital, have all worked tirelessly for the past four months so that we could be in a position to launch CookSafe+ today.

“I would like to formally acknowledge and thank all who have been involved in this project, and I would also like to offer a special thanks to New Zealand for their ongoing assistance and support,” the Prime Minister said.

The CookSafe+ app is currently available for free download to your smartphone from either the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

The app’s development was led by the Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Te Marae Ora, the Office of the Prime Minister, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and NZ-based app developer, Rush Digital.