Irish contact tracing app is downloaded 1.3 million times and open sourced


More than 725,000 people downloaded Ireland’s COVID-19 tracker and contact tracing app, Covid Green, within 24 hours of its launch, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly stressed that the app, which was developed by the Waterford company Nearform, was not a “silver bullet” but would enhance other contact tracing measures and urged everyone to download it as it would help keep schools and offices open by reducing the time it takes to trace close contacts of someone testing positive from days to hours. The app requires Bluetooth, but does not need access to location services, and users can decide whether to receive exposure notifications at any time. By a week after the app’s launch, it had been downloaded 1.3 million times. Ireland has donated the Covid Green code to the Linux Foundation Public Health initiative, making it one of the first two open source projects for fighting the pandemic. The source code has already been used to build contact tracing apps for Gibraltar and some other countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the US, as well as Northern Ireland, where Covid Green is the first internationally interoperable contact tracing app.
Writer: Martin Wall, Clara O’Brien, and Mark Hilliard; Clara O’Brien
Publication: Irish Times
Publication date: 2020-07-07; 2020-07-20