The South African government has recently rolled out a COVID-19 tracing app to help efforts to quell the virus in the country.
The free exposure notification app is called ‘Covid Alert SA‘. It lets people know when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app is available on iOS and Android to anyone in South Africa who has a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
The government says the app is entirely anonymous, and protects users’ privacy and security at all times. It does not need you to input or store any of your personal information. It does not use GPS, track your location or require access to contacts on your phone.
When an app user anonymously reports to the app that they have COVID‑19, it sends notifications to those devices that were in close contact with this person’s device. These exposure notifications warn those app users that they could potentially have been exposed to the virus.
App users are guided as to what to do next to optimise their wellbeing and prevent the spread of the COVID‑19 virus to others. At no stage does the app reveal the users’ identities. Confidentiality and anonymity are core to the app’s contact-tracing process.
“By downloading and using the COVID Alert SA app, you become a part of a powerful digital network of app users who choose to work together for the benefit of everyone in the app community while all enjoying complete privacy and anonymity. App users understand their exposure to COVID-19 and help others to do the same. We can all work together to curb the spread of COVID-19 and, ultimately, to save lives,” says the Department of Health.
Standard data costs apply when you download the COVID Alert SA app. The app has been developed to keep the download size under 3 MB. The app is free and does not feature in-app purchases.