Ireland's health authority is developing a special app to track and track Coronavirus infection. It could be launched within the next 10 days.

Ireland's government is working on an app to track and trace Covid-19 infections, the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has confirmed. It is reported that the app could be ready to roll out in as little as the next 10 days. 

Members of the general public and those who are sick will be asked to use the app, on a phone or computer, to alert the public if they have been infected. The app is being rolled out in a bid to restrict the spread of the virus and to even contain clusters. It will be be an opt-in system.

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Department of Taoiseach assistant secretary-general Elizabeth Canavan confirmed that the Governmental Department of Health and HSE are working on the special app.

During a government briefing on Tues morning (Mar 31), Canavan said:

“As part of the national response to Covid-19, work is underway to develop a new mobile Covid-19 app for real-time symptom tracking and digital contact tracing. Intensive work has been underway, between the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and direct support from the office of the government chief information officer, and other technical expertise across the public service, and elsewhere.

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"The implementation timeline will be determined by the technical progress and results from intensive testing that is currently taking place.”

According to the Irish Examiner, data protection experts have been informed about this app. There are outstanding questions about where the information will be stored and if people can be identified. The Data Protection Commissioner's office is also liaising with health authorities on the proposed plan.

Earlier this week the Health Service Executive revealed that they are cooperating on "a cross-government effort in relation to a very important piece of technology."

The Sunday Business Post first reported the app's development.  The app will use Bluetooth to keep track of phones potentially coming into close contact with phones belonging to those who have contracted Covid-19.

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Speaking at a media briefing on Sunday, the HSE Head of Communications Paul Connors said "This is a cross-government effort in relation to a very important piece of technology in fighting Covid-19.

"It will alert people close to them. It will also provide really important information for people and it will feed back important information where people can. If they choose, provide information about their general state of well-being at a particular time and that will be fed back in for our epidemiological assessment as we go along.

"We're still working very closely with a number of agencies to help us get through some particular peculiarities such as GDPR.

"We're working very closely with the Data Protection Commissioner on that.

"It's likely it will be rolled out in the next ten days or so. And certainly is an opt-in process for people."

What do you think? Should this be implemented in all countries to help curb this Covid-19 pandemic?

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