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'Probably’ something wrong with the Covid-19 tracing app if uptake is low - Judith Collins

New National leader Judith Collins says there’s “probably” something wrong with the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer app if Kiwis’ uptake of it is low. 

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The National leader says there’s probably an issue with the app if many people weren’t using it. Source: 1 NEWS

She said despite being “generally on to apps”, she had trouble getting the NZ COVID Tracer to work on her phone. Ms Collins said the last time she tried to use it was two weeks ago.

“It just comes back with something like ‘it’s not available’ or whatever,” she said.

“If I’m having trouble with it, probably quite a few people are.”

Ms Collins said there were “probably [issues] if people don’t want to use it [the app].”

“People are now not using it so much because, after all, we’re not in lockdown … I thought the borders were secure, aren’t they?”

Her comments come as Ministry of Health data released today showed there were 596,000 people on the app.

The number of poster scans to date is 1,428,943 and businesses have created 77,928 posters.

Today’s data shows that for every registration, an app user would scan only about 2.3 QR codes. 

Meanwhile, data in recent days showed only about one in every eight QR code posters were being scanned. 

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The Covid-19 app has been met with criticism by some, within 24 hours of its launch. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Collins said the Government had to restore people’s confidence in the app as it started to talk about re-opening borders.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins this morning appealed Kiwis not to be complacent to the risk of Covid-19 re-emerging in the community.

He said people should continue to use the app to help authorities with contact tracing. 

"Please step up your efforts, scan wherever you go and keep a record of your movements."

"Now's the time to be vigilant."

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We ask scientist Dr Michelle Dickinson, otherwise known as Nanogirl. Source: Seven Sharp

Mr Hipkins assured the data would only be used by health officials for contact tracing purposes.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also urged Kiwis to use the app this morning.

She said while the Government could “set up a framework” for contact tracing, people needed to take personal responsibility for recording where they’d been.

Ms Ardern said now was not the time for people to move Covid-19 “to the back of their minds”.

“We're just not in a position globally to start thinking like that."

Last month, the Ministry of Health confirmed Bluetooth tracing has been trialled, and it’s being “actively considered”, with an options paper to be presented to ministers.

The tech 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.

However, the Ministry of Health recognised the Bluetooth technology wasn’t completely reliable as it could detect someone on a different floor of the same building, lead to excessive battery usage and didn’t provide accurate location information. 

The app was officially launched on May 20. 

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More than 450,000 people have downloaded the app since launching but there are concerns there aren't many places for people to actually use it. Source: 1 NEWS

On May 30, 1 NEWS revealed just 10,000 of the eligible 800,000 businesses have adopted the Government's app. 1 NEWS also revealed registered users were only using the app an average of once per download.