WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Alberta on Friday launched the country’s first phone app to trace contacts of people infected with the coronavirus, as the country slowly restarts its economy.
Increased testing and contact tracing are key parts of plans to reopen economies that have largely closed to slow the pandemic’s spread, with no proven vaccine or treatment available.
Currently, contact tracing is done manually, by asking infected patients to recall with whom they have interacted.
Alberta’s voluntary app, called ABTraceTogether, uses Bluetooth wireless technology to identify phones, which also have the app installed, that have come into 2-metre contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.
Once a person with the app becomes infected, Alberta Health Services will ask the person to upload encrypted data that will allow tracing workers to reach others who have been in close contact.