Covid radar app failure as less than 2% register

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Radar Covid App
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NEWS: The Radar Covid app in Spain has been called the 2020 failure by some. But is this correct? Are there no other causes or factors as to why this app has been achieved little success five months after launch? Less than 2% have registered with the Spanish corona app. 

On Friday, the Spanish newspaper El País writes about the Radar Covid app and its lagging success in Spain. A pilot was recently conducted with the app on the island of La Gomera.  The results of the pilot were published in the journal Nature. This pilot showed that the app could trace more than six contacts of a person who tested positive.  This is double the result of what is achieved by human trackers through source and contact research. 

Pilot on La Gomera successful 

Following an explanation by authoritiesthe app was downloaded by 33% of the population in La Gomera. Each time a person testing positive entered his or her code, an average of 6.3 contacts received a warning.  With sufficient useeffective source and contact research are therefore possible with such an app. 

How does the Radar Covid app work? 

The app works quite simply.   Of everyone who registers, the contacts of people with whom they have been within a radius of 2 meters for more than 15 minutes are recorded via Bluetooth.  When someone tests positive, they are given a code to enter into the app.  Following this, all close contacts are notified that they have had contact with a person who has tested positive. 

Radar Covid app a failure in Spain? 

However,  if the app is rarely used, and the involvement and communication from authorities are insufficient, then a good quality app can never be achieved.   According to the latest data, 6.8 million Spaniards have downloaded the app. If all these people use the app and leave their Bluetooth on, then that still only equates to 15% of the Spaniards using the app. According to the Spanish government, a minimum percentage of 20% is necessary for the app to be efficient. 

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Since the app’s launch on 19th August, 471,566 people have entered their code after testing positive.  While this may seem like a lot of people, in comparison, 2.3 million people in Spain have tested positive since then. 

What do experts think of the app in Spain? 

Should the app be called a failure?  According to a researcher involved in the pilot on La Gomera, the Spanish government has not fully got behind the app. The reason for this may be that the powers of health care in Spain are decentralised.  Communication and involvement between the Spanish government and the regional authorities were insufficientso the app never really got a real chance.

Moreover, a professor from London reports that such an app is not the perfect solution.  “Apps can be useful in contact research, as is intensively done in South Korea and China, for exampleNevertheless, more resources are also being used in these countries to combat the virus. ” 

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