Sep 2020 2nd edition

Save lives: Download COVID Alert SA

Written by Allison Cooper

The National Department of Health and private sector partners have developed a new free-to-use mobile phone application that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, positive cases must be detected early. People who have made contact with those who have contracted the virus need to be made aware.

This process is called contact tracing and it enables people who could have been exposed to the virus to get the help they need. This could be testing, isolation or quarantine.

Contacting people directly to let them know they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive takes a long time. Also, because many people do not show symptoms of the virus, they do not know that they have it. When they go shopping or use public transport, they could spread the virus without knowing it.

Government has thus developed a Bluetooth-enabled mobile application called COVID Alert SA. 

If you download the app onto your smartphone, it will make connect to the app on other people’s phones when you are close to them. If one of these people test positive for COVID-19, even if you do not know them, you will get a message on your phone telling you that you could have the virus.

To make it possible for all South Africans to use the app, it is free to download and free to use. The app does not ask for your details. It also does not track your location and does not collect any of your personal information. 

If you test positive for COVID-19, the app will send a message to those you have been in contact with, but it does not give out your identity. You remain anonymous. 

“The launch of this app is a significant milestone in our country’s fight against coronavirus, and will play an important role in preventing a second wave of infections,” says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We must work together to prevent a resurgence at all costs. I encourage every South African to download this app,” he adds.

Download COVID Alert SA

Anyone with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone can download and use the app for free. You do not have to pay for mobile data when you use the app.

Download COVID Alert SA quickly and easily from the Apple App Store or Google Play and follow the prompts.

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