1.5 million can’t download Dutch coronavirus tracking app; 800k downloads so far
Over 1.47 million Netherlands residents aged 12 and older will not be able to use the CoronaMelder app because their smartphones don't run on the required versions of Android or iOS, according to figures the Ministry of Public Health shared with NU.nl. The app was downloaded over 800 thousand times in the first week of it becoming available on the app stores, the Ministry said on Friday.
The CoronaMelder app only works on smartphones with Android 6.0 or higher and iOS 13.5 or higher. The app uses a framework from Google and Apple that only works with those versions of the operating systems. 5 percent of Android smartphones and 15 percent of iPhones in the Netherlands run on an older version of these operating systems, which means the app can't be installed.
That amounts to 425 thousand Android users and 278 iPhone users. The rest of the 1.47 million have phones with operating systems other than Android or iOS.
"The vast majority of people can use the app," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health said to the newspaper. "But the app is an additional tool. The regular source and contact research will not disappear and will remain available to people without the app." The maximum reach of the CoronaMelder app is 12.7 million smartphones.
CoronaMelder was downloaded over 800 thousand times in the first week that it was available. 100 thousand of those downloads happened on the first day.
The app uses Bluetooth to exchange signals with other phones that have the app installed, to register proximity. If an app user tests positive for Covid-19, the app can be used to notify all other app users who had been in close vicinity with the patient for longer than 15 minutes that they too may be infected. The idea is that this will make source and contact tracing easier for health service GGD.