SYDNEY - More than four million Australians have downloaded the government's CovidSafe tracing App, but officials insist many more need to sign on to make it effective. Australia has had 6,800 COVID-19 cases, 5,800 patients have recovered, and 95 people have died with the virus.
The CovidSafe App was launched in Australia just over a week ago. 4.25 million Australians have downloaded it, but officials say a greater uptake of the coronavirus tracing software would give political leaders the ability to be more “bold” in easing restrictions. The government has said that about 10 million Australians - or 40 % of the population - need to join the program to make it an effective tool to trace COVID-19 cases.
Civil liberties groups say the technology breaches privacy, while some experts have questioned its ability to accurately trace users.
But the Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy is urging more Australians to take part.
“The other very important precondition we have talked about on many occasions is the App. 4.25 million Australians have now downloaded the App and clearly, we need to keep downloads and registrations increasing. We think there are about 16 million adults with Smartphones. They are our target population. They are the people we want to get to download App because they are the people are likely to be contacts of cases, and we want as many of them as possible to download the App,” Murphy said.
The federal government says it will announce later in the week if more COVID-19 controls will be relaxed following moves by some state and territory authorities to ease some public gathering and recreational restrictions.
More than 630,000 tests have been carried out across the country. Australia also shut its borders to foreigners in March to stop the spread of imported cases of the disease.
A New Zealand rugby team are the first foreign nationals to be allowed into Australia since international borders were closed. The New Zealand Warriors will stay in quarantine for 14 days before the planned resumption of the Australian National Rugby League on May 28. The Auckland-based Warriors are the only overseas side to play in the 16-team competition.
In Sydney, another elderly resident has died at a care home that has become an epicenter for COVID-19 in Australia. 14 people have now died after a staff member caused an outbreak by working several shifts despite having mild coronavirus symptoms. The New South Wales state government said the situation at the facility was “horrific” and “unacceptable."