Many European member states are opening their borders to allow citizens and visitors to move freely. In order to facilitate smooth movement and safety for its people and visitors, a contact tracing app was adopted to aid in the transition back to normal life after the epidemic. This new EU service is open to all compatible apps, and the majority of EU countries are participating.
What is contact tracking for COVID-19?
In its simplest definition, contact tracing for COVID-19 is the process of identifying and assessing individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and managing them to prevent onward transmission. Contact tracing of infected individuals helps to test them for infection, isolate them, treat them if they are infected, and reduce infection risk in the population.
Although contact tracing apps have been in use for decades, the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to an increased demand for the system.
Digital Contact Tracing App
A digital contact tracking app is a mobile device-based contact tracking system that helps to determine contact between an infected patient and a user. The Digital Contact Tracing App came in the form of the COVID app and the WARNING app during the pandemic.
Mobile contact tracing and warning apps can help break the chain of infections. The digital app uses GPS and Bluetooth to trace the proximity of infected patients. COVID-19 and warnings usually follow either decentralized or centralized protocols.
Most EU Member States have launched a national contact tracing and warning app, which can be used on a voluntary basis.
EU Countries Using Covid-19 Tracing and Warning App
Immediately after the EU Gateway went live on June 1, 2021, seven EU Member States had already connected and started issuing or verifying certificates in a secure and privacy-friendly way. The seven EU Member States already connected to the EU Gateway are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland.
List of EU Mobile Contact Tracing App
|Stopp Corona App
|Korona Stop LT
Who Performs Contact Tracing
In most countries, COVID-19 contact tracing is done by trained staff, which may include:
- Public health professionals, or
How is EU Covid and Warn App Helping
Contact tracing and warning apps can help break the chain of infections, nationally and across the borders of member states, to save lives.
The EU Member States and the European Commission set up new services to allow national apps to talk to each other. It allows users to be warned when they are in contact with someone who has indicated a positive for COVID-19.
Currently, the Contact Tracing App works in a decentralized system where the calculations happen in the user’s app. The decentralized system has been adopted by the majority of EU Member States. However, solutions are being analyzed to include centralized systems where the calculations take place on a secure server of the national health authority.
The decentralized system works together with the gateway services, which enable these apps to be used across the borders of member states.
Are Users Personal Data Secured?
The European Commission has published an EU toolbox and data protection guidance on contact tracing and warning apps. These resources define a series of guiding principles for these apps as follows:
- Contact tracing and warning Apps should only be voluntarily installed and used;
- Only the data which are strictly necessary for the running of the service are collected;
- Apps should use proximity data based on Bluetooth technology;
- No location data is requested or utilized by the tracing App;
- Contact tracing and warning apps do not track people’s movements;
- The data should not be stored longer than necessary – 14 days;
- Data should be protected through state-of-the art techniques, including encryption;
- The applications should be deactivated as soon as the pandemic is over.