Health service GGD had doubts about government's coronavirus app
Health service GGD for a long time had doubts about the CoronaMelder app, developed by the government to track close contacts so that they can be notified in case of a Covid-19 exposure. The health service warned the Ministry of Public Health against launching the app too quickly, NOS reports based on internal documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents did not make clear exactly why the GGD doubted the usefulness of the app. The GGD stated that the app would have a "disruptive effect" on the source and contact tracing, as preparation for the app could come at the expense of the tracing. "The app must support and not disturb the work of the GGD," the health service wrote to the Ministry on June 12.
The GGD also did not want people to be contacted about possible exposure twice, by the app and the GGD. That is inevitable, as the app does not know the identity of exposed persons, only their phone's Bluetooth code.
On June 25, the government reported that the app was "almost done". Three days earlier, GGD GHOR director Hugo Backx sent a "serious warning" to the Ministry, saying that the launch of the app is "not feasible" as there were no plans on how to implement the app and measure its results.
That letter showed that the government wanted to launch the app on July 15. That launch date did not happen. The introduction of the app was postponed to September 1. It was again delayed, because the law that would regulate its use had not yet been passed. The CoronaMelder finally launched on October 10.
The GGD now told NOS that it is happy with the app. "Our questions have been answered, resulting in an app that we can work well with," spokesperson Sonja Kloppenburg said to the broadcaster. The documents NOS wrote about showed the situation in June, she said.