1,300 asymptomatic people identified with CoronaMelder app
In the three months since the CoronaMelder has been launched more than 1,300 people who did not show any symptoms of the coronavirus but still carried the disease were detected.
The CoronaMelder uses the Bluetooth signal on cell phones to identify if someone was in close proximity of a person who tested positive for the coronavirus for more than 15 minutes. Should this be the case the user will receive a warning on their phone.
About 4.5 percent of the people who were alerted via the app and did not show any symptoms did in fact test positive. Asymptomatic people are still capable of transmitting the disease, even if it does not affect them directly.
“These results are cause for cautious optimism”, said Dr. Wolfgang Ebber in a statement released by the government. “The ongoing research also shows that users of the CoronaMelder are not behaving less carefully because they use the app. More than 90 percent of current users indicate that after receiving a notification, they performed a test, stayed at home and did not receive any visitors.”
In total, the app has been downloaded 4.5 million times since its release in December. “The more people who download the app, the more likely we are to detect people who are unaware that they have the coronavirus", said the outgoing health minister, Hugo de Jonge.
The app is most popular among people aged between 55 and 64 years. Adults aged 24 and under are least likely to have the app on their phone.
The app has received criticism because some people fear that it breaches their privacy. Others are concerned about the unwarranted shock an alert can give someone who ends up not having the coronavirus.