Bluetooth tracking could be added to NZ Covid Tracer app 'as soon as next month'

The Health Ministry is getting ready to ask for the Government's approval to introduce Bluetooth tracing to the NZ Covid Tracer app.

NZ COVID Tracer app. Source: 1 NEWS

The technology has been used in Singapore and Australia, and utilises a phone’s Bluetooth chip to record close contacts.

It uses those signals to "shake hands" with other phones that a person is in close contact with.

If someone tests positive for the disease, the records of those possible contact points are used to determine how likely it is they’ve infected someone else.

If required, an alert is triggered to help prevent the further spread of the virus.

The tracing technique has also caused tech competitors Google and Apple to work together, meaning their devices would be able to “talk to each other” using the system.

Both Apple and Google say privacy has been a key focus throughout development, with all sensitive information stored on-device, in the hands of the user.

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In a statement to 1 NEWS, the Ministry of Health said it “has been trialling the Apple/Google Exposure Notification Framework with a view to incorporating it within the NZ Covid Tracer app".

“If final approval is given, Bluetooth tracing could be added to the app as soon as next month.”