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The grim reality behind New Zealand's low Covid Tracer app numbers

Only one QR poster scan is being done for every five registered users on the Covid Tracer app each day over summer, figures show.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Source: 1 NEWS

That's despite a campaign launched by the Ministry of Health trying to encourage people to use the app.

Figures released by the Ministry of Health since December 1 show that on average, for every five users on the app, one scan is being done each day.

Even after the Northland community Covid-19 case was revealed on Sunday saw a spike in app usage, it averages to only one in four users scanning a single QR code in that 24-hour period.

Some of those users will be people scanning multiple times so the average figures aren't an accurate reflection of actual activity.

The Northland community case was "assiduous" in her use of the app, according to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, leading to the identification of 31 locations of interest to date across an eight-day period.

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"It's the use of the app by this person that has enabled us to follow up quickly anyone who may have contact with her and to head off any further potential spread," Bloomfield said at yesterday's media briefing.

"Remember this could be anyone at any time and it's up to all of us to protect each other."

From the two days prior, there was an average of around 600,000 scans each day carried out.

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The Prime Minister says New Zealanders should stay home if they feel sick. Source: Breakfast

Even when usage of the app peaked around the second lockdown in August last year, daily scans were the equivalent of one per person on average, according to the released Ministry of Health figures.

"The message here is clear: Everyone on the team needs to scan QR codes and enable Bluetooth on phones and on the app," Bloomfield says.

"I encourage... everybody to not only have the app on their phone but use it assiduously."

'KEEP A RECORD'

While there's been a significant push to use the Covid Tracer app, the key advice from health authorities is to keep track of where you've been and who you've been with, whether it's through the official app or a personal diary.

"The easiest way to keep a private record is by scanning the QR codes with the app," the Ministry of Health said at the beginning of summer.

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"Remember, it’s important you keep a record in case this is required for contact tracing purposes – if a case of Covid-19 was to emerge, being able to quickly trace anyone who has been in contact with that person will be critical to helping us stamp it out."

The figures used in this article include both QR poster scans and manual entries added each day.

The data was gathered from the Ministry of Health's routine Covid-19 updates from December 1.

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