A Prime Foods customer tagging into the CookSafe Covid-19 contact tracing system. 21021610
Along with Covid-19 testing, contact tracing has been identified as a key element for a travel bubble with NZ. Local efforts to develop a robust system are nearing the final stages.
Contact tracing efforts are set to get a boost
as an agreement is expected to be signed between the Chamber of Commerce and
Government this week to get the CookSafePLUS system ready for a possible
two-way bubble with New Zealand.
The system is still under development with
additional functionality being added to the existing CookSafe system, which
uses QR cards scanned by users at participating locations around Rarotonga.
The Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce is
currently overseeing efforts to modify the CookSafe system by adding Bluetooth
functionality, which will make it compatible with NZ’s Covid Tracer app.
To push things forward, Cook Islands Chamber
of Commerce chief executive officer Eve Hayden said the Chamber needs to secure
additional funding through a revamped memorandum of understanding (MOU) with
“We haven’t had our MOU adjusted at this
stage, so we’re waiting to have that adjusted so we can continue and enhance
the work that we’re doing,” she said.
While the existing QR-code based CookSafe
system will serve users without access to a smartphone, the new system – which
has been dubbed CookSafePLUS – will work with a downloadable smartphone app.
When installed, it will track the movements of
users and can determine if close contact was made with someone who has tested
positive for Covid-19.
Hayden said an updated MOU between the Chamber
and the Ministry of Finance Economic Management and Te Marae Ora Ministry of
Health will allow them to move forward and release CookSafePLUS to users in advance
of any decision to implement two-way, quarantine-free travel with NZ.
“We need the go-ahead that gives us the
authority to do the next block of work. So that is to teach, promote, and
rollout CookSafePLUS which is the Bluetooth app,” she said.
“… there’s another chunk of work that needs to
be done as to how we promote and get that rolled out.”
Hayden is expecting user acceptance testing on
the app to begin next week.
Development of the CookSafePLUS app is being
assisted by the ICT division of the Office of the Prime Minister.
According to statistics released by the
Chamber, between 5000 and 8000 scans are being made each week with the CookSafe
QR code system.