Coronavirus (COVID-19) Most Read Tech

Thu 03 September 2020:

Apple and Google have announced a new coronavirus contact tracing system to help public health authorities inform potentially infected people without having to build their own app.

Countries across the world have turned to technology to support contact tracing efforts, using bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of those in close proximity.

Now the firms have revealed Exposure Notifications Express, which will allow public health authorities to provide a configuration file with basic information and the criteria for triggering an exposure notification.

Once set up, handset holders will be asked if they want to opt in, meaning they will receive an alert if someone they have been near has tested positive for Covid-19.

The new Exposure Notifications Express system

The new Exposure Notifications Express system (Apple/Google/PA)

The latest version of iOS for iPhones will enable the feature without downloading an app in places where public health authorities have signed up while devices using Android will receive a prompt directing them to an app generated by Google.

The technology relies on Bluetooth wireless signals to determine whether an individual has spent time near anyone else who has tested positive for the virus.

Both people in this scenario must have signed up to use the Google-Apple technology. Instead of geographic location, the app relies on proximity. The companies say the app won’t reveal personal information either to them or public health officials.

Individuals who receive such proximity alerts will typically be offered testing and health advice to prevent potential future spread of the virus.

Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, announcing the state’s participation in the Apple-Google system at a press conference Tuesday, said it will help public health officials more quickly notify people of potential COVID-19 exposure.

August became the first to launch a customized pandemic app using the Google-Apple framework.

People living in US states Maryland, Nevada, Virginia and Washington DC will be the first to try the feature.

“As the next step in our work with public health authorities on exposure notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the exposure notifications system without the need for them to build and maintain an app,” Apple and Google said in a joint statement.

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