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Health chief plays down role of contact-tracing app in easing lockdown measures

The Covid-19 Tracker Ireland App is due to be launched at the end of May.

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Social media app icons on a smart phone (PA)

Social media app icons on a smart phone (PA)

Social media app icons on a smart phone (PA)

The head of the health service has said the contact-tracing app will not play a major role in the country’s strategy to emerge from lockdown.

Health Minister Simon Harris said Covid Tracker Ireland App being developed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) will only work if there is maximum public buy-in.

Speaking at the Health Service Executive Covid-19 weekly briefing, HSE chief Paul Reid the app will play a role in how get out of lockdown but said it is not the only factor.

It (the app) is not the only solutionPaul Reid

Mr Reid said the app is set to become available at the end of May to users aged over 16 and it will be voluntary.

He said people who have the app and have been in close contact with a confirmed case will receive a push notification.

“The contact tracing app plays a role, not a major role, but it plays a role in terms of contact tracing process.”

“I would like to emphasise that the app is one element of a massive contact-tracing operation.

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Paul Reid (lLeon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paul Reid (lLeon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

PA

Paul Reid (lLeon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

“The app will be an element of the overall contact tracing system and that has been the experience in Europe.

“It is part of a process of a wider contact and tracing system, it is not the only solution.”

He said the HSE will begin a scoping exercise to develop a future model of operations for testing and tracing.

The time it takes for a test from swab to result is 2.4 days while contact tracing was done within 1.5 days of that.

PA