The Australian government has launched a Covid-19 mobile app and a WhatsApp message service to help Australians stay up to date on the latest measures and health advisories in the fight against coronavirus.
The Covid-19 app is currently available on Google Play and Apple App Store, and provides an overview of the current status of virus in Australia, as well as a symptom checker powered by healthdirect, a government-funded health information service, for those concerned about contracting the virus.
Covid-19 builds on existing platform to centralise information on Coronavirus Pandemic
The COVID-19 app builds on the new Australia.gov.au homepage which was released last week by the Digital Transformation Agency to help centralise information on the current coronavirus pandemic.
The app allows citizens to register their self-isolation to improve the communication of information to the government and check their symptoms using the HealthDirect service.
Australia looks to Singapore for Contact Tracing Functionality
At the moment the app does not have contact tracing functionality. The government has started to look into digital options like Singapore’s TraceTogether app.
TraceTogether works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other TraceTogether users in close proximity. Records are stored locally on each user’s phone. If a user is interviewed by the Ministry of Health as part of the contact tracing efforts, they can consent to their TraceTogether data being sent to the authorities.
Whatsapp Chat to Keep Citizens Updated
The Australian government have also created a WhatsApp chat in addition to the coronavirus app to share updates and information with citizens.
Prime Minister Morrison has said that the service would allow the government to directly provide citizens with health advice, updates on lockdown measures and other accurate and timely information.
It has been reported that more than 291,000 people have now joined the group, and 1.25 million messages were sent out to citizens this Sunday.