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French COVID tracking application requires additional downloads to be effective: Minister

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new COVID-19 communication-tracking app needs to be downloaded by at least 20% of people, but it’s far from reaching that level, the Minister of Digital Affairs said on Sunday.

On Oct. 22, France relaunched its “Stop Covit” tracing app and renamed it “Dous’s Anti-Covid”, after which it saw a total of over 1.2 million downloads, in addition to about 4 million.

“In order for the application to be efficient, about 20% of the population, or 15 to 20 million people, need to download it,” Digital Affairs Minister Cedrit O’Francinfo said on the radio.

He said similar applications work best in the UK, Germany and Canada, but did not provide examples of the application successfully communicating in France.

Although the government has promised that the data will not be used for any purpose other than to prevent infection, many in France are reluctant to download the app for privacy issues.

O’Brien said the application would be an important tool in preventing the spread of the disease once France completes the curfew imposed on two-thirds of the population in an effort to control the epidemic.

The application runs with Bluetooth and alerts users if the victim has been within one meter (3.3 feet) for at least 15 minutes.

“It means you have to have your Bluetooth and someone else is using the app,” O said.

President Emmanuel Macron said in mid-October that the application used earlier was not working properly and that users of the new one would be advised to run it only when they were in close contact with others, such as in the subway or at parties. There is no point in giving it up all the time.

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Prime Minister Jean Costex said last month that his government’s corona virus communication-tracking app had not been downloaded because Metro had not taken over.

On Saturday, France set a new record of more than 45,000 corona virus infections in a 24-hour period.

Report by Kirt de Clark; Compiled by Mark Heinrich