3 Days 2.7 Mil download “The more people use the app, the more effective it becomes”:virus contact-tracing app

TOKYO : “The more people use the app, the more effective it becomes,” Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato told a parliamentary committee.

A free smartphone app which alerts users that they may have been in close proximity to someone infected with the coronavirus has seen 2.7 million downloads in the first three days since its launch, the health minister said Monday.

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Kato said maximum consideration has been given to protecting privacy and that users do not need to enter information personally identifying them.

The app was launched Friday, the same day when Japan completely lifted an advisory against cross-prefecture travel. The government hopes it will encourage more people suspecting they may be infected with the virus to go to hospitals or take polymerase chain reaction tests to contain its spread.

Technology experts say the app needs to be widely used in order to be truly effective as it requires the accumulation of a certain amount of contact data.

The government has not given a target percent for the app’s usage, but overseas research shows that at least 60 percent of people in a country should use such a system to make it practical.

Meanwhile, Tokyo reported 29 new cases of infection on Monday.

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