What we know about Wales’ plans to use the coronavirus contact tracking application

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The Welsh government is working with its UK counterparts on a mobile app designed to track and trace symptoms of coronavirus.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Sunday that the app would be tested on the Isle of Wight this week before being deployed elsewhere.

Once final approval is given, governments should urge everyone with a smartphone across the UK to download it.

However, epidemiologists claim that more than half (56%) of the total population – about 80% of smartphone users – must use the app to remove the virus.

This map shows the regions of Wales with the most cases in the past week

Speaking at a press conference in Cathays Park, Cardiff, Monday, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales is considering using the technology.

“We are working with the British government on the app to see if we can use it here in Wales,” he said.

“There are problems to be solved, and that is why the Isle of Wight is used as an experiment.

“There are particular problems with personal data and how it can be shared between different healthcare systems in the UK. If we can resolve these issues, in a way that people will be willing to share their data and feel secure in doing so, I see benefits in being part of this larger application.

“But we are not there yet because discussions on these issues continue during this experimental period. “

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When asked if the Welsh public should be encouraged to allow their personal data to be used in this way to help curb the spread of Covid-19, the Prime Minister said: “My answer would be” yes ” conditional.

“I think people in Wales have always demonstrated their willingness to act collectively to do things in our own lives that benefit others.

“And that’s what the app is designed to do: bring all of our experiences together and allow everyone to make better decisions accordingly.”

“So I think there will be a predisposition of people in Wales to participate, but the condition is that the problems of personal data have been considered, that there are protections in the system, and that there have a statement posted alongside the app that explains to people how the information they voluntarily contribute will be used. ”



Prime Minister Mark Drakeford at a press conference with the Welsh government in Cardiff

The app uses Bluetooth to alert a mobile user when they are within 6 feet of someone who has reported having coronavirus or related symptoms.

It has already been suggested that the areas that test the contact finder app may also be relaxed at first.

Contact tracking has been recognized to have helped lift restrictions in some other countries and has been widely used in places like Germany and Singapore.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said he hoped more than half of the 80,000 households on the Isle of Wight would download the app.

“When it comes to contract tracking, the more people who download the NHS-developed app, the better,” he said.

“Knowing that it is a contribution we can all make to the security of our communities and neighbors is a very powerful incentive. “

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