Coronavirus tracking app code unveiled; final version to come next month

Dappermarkt in Amsterdam after coronavirus announcement
Dozens gather at the Dappermarkt in Amsterdam Oost one day after stricter coronavirus containment measures were announced. March 16, 2020NL TimesNL Times

A beta version of the government-backed coronavirus tracking app has has been released to the public on Wednesday, with the final product being expected sometime in June, Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge confirmed on Wednesday.

Publishing the software code on developer platforms Github and Figma, the app's developers emphasize that the app is not yet ready, but seek feedback and suggestions on their work. This follows nearly a month on from the government's appointment of a team of experienced developers to design the app, with the final product expected to allow the health service GGD to track who came into contact with people known to have been infected with the virus.

"The team surrounding the app is full of work. We hope that there will be a concept soon and that we can test it in June. Everyone can be tested from June 1. With an app, the source and contact research can be better mapped," said De Jonge.

"The app is a reinforcement of the source and contact research. From Monday, everyone can be tested. In June I will make a decision when the app will be available to everyone," he added.

The coronavirus tracking app will make use of new technologies from Apple and Google based on Bluetooth, according to RTL Nieuws. This way, developers can ensure that the app operates on both iOS and Android devices.

The app's development has faced criticism from some politicians and from the Dutch Data Protection Authority, among others, who have cited privacy concerns in arguing that the app should not be developed too hastily. In spite of this, an April survey by the Erasmus University in Rotterdam has found that more than half of Dutch are willing to install a coronavirus tracking app on their phone, so long as meets privacy requirements