TODAY |

Government to start ground trial of Covid-19 contact tracing card in Rotorua

Some New Zealanders could soon be carrying an extra eftpos-sized card with them as a way to help with contact tracing.

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It uses Bluetooth to exchange signals with other cards nearby. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government is launching an “on the ground” trial of a contact tracing card in Ngongotahā, a suburb in Rotorua.

Between 500 and 1500 people over the age of 19 are being sought to participate.

Cards can be worn on a lanyard or clipped to the wearer's belt. It will exchange signals with anyone nearby who is also wearing one.

Data collected from the card won’t track a wearer’s location or identity. Instead, it aims to build a “memory of contacts” so a wearer can be quickly alerted if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. 

It’s hoped the trial, set to start on November 9, will show how the card could work in a real-world scenario. 

It will help authorities determine whether it’s more effective than the current contact-tracing system. 

Early trials of a “CovidCard” in May showed the technology struggled in cafés and parties, according to official documents released to Newsroom

The card performed better in other environments, like office spaces. 

An August Cabinet paper also pointed to other challenges. These included card security, false positives and the level of public uptake.