European Union planning to launch cross-border virus tracking app
Test and trace apps are now available in many European countries. These apps are considered one of the most effective ways to curb the number of new cases. But, as travel restrictions are eased, the European Commission is working on making them work across borders.
The “Corona-Warn-App”, which was developed in Germany, helps to trace infection chains. It’s based on centralized technology and, when running in the background, notifies users if they are in close contact with someone that’s tested positive for the virus.
The app’s partners are Apple and Google and is optimized for effectiveness. Users can choose to voluntarily upload a positive test result, then data is collected and reported to nearby devices.
Until now, smartphone tracking apps have only been available in two-thirds of member states, and they haven’t functioned beyond national borders, However, the European Commission is currently working on running them between countries.
As of this week, though, Italy, Ireland, and Germany have signed up to the German app. This means that, when coming into contact with someone else with the app, they will be warned.
In addition to this, on the 26th October, four more countries – Denmark, Spain, Croatia, and the Czech Republic – will sign up to the service, although this is yet to be confirmed. It’s believed that other countries will be added later, after the synchronization is confirmed.
Some countries will be excluded due to data laws, including France, the UK, Switzerland, and Hungary, although it’s believed an agreement on the exchanging of health could be reached at a later date if deemed to be necessary.
The Commission hopes this function can help guarantee free movement in the EU, particularly if the virus is still in circulation during the summer months when tourism is at its peak.
In a statement, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market noted, “Freedom of movement is an integral part of the internal market – the data matching service makes this easier and will help us save lives.