A contact tracing app for Belgium will be ready over the course of September, contact tracing coordinator Karine Moykens told Flemish radio show De Ochtend on Tuesday.
The contact tracing app has been the topic of much discussion since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, with an initial decision not to develop one, followed by the government giving the green light in mid-June.
The app will work in the entire country, according to Moykens. When a person is diagnosed with the new coronavirus (Covid-19), they will receive a code to enter in the app, which notifies everyone the person has been near. These people, in turn, should contact their doctor.
People who are notified that they have been in contact with an infected person will not know who that person is or where they have been in contact with them, so privacy will be guaranteed according to Moykens. “We have chosen the most secure system that can currently be developed. On the one hand, you have your smartphone’s operating system, on top of that is Bluetooth and on top of that is the system called DP3T,” Moykens said.
The system is also used in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. “It’s exactly that German platform that we’re going to take over, we’re not going to reinvent the wheel,” she clarified.
Use of the app will remain on a voluntary basis, leaving the question of whether enough people would install it. France, for example, had a tracing app that was downloaded by only 2% of the population. “We are definitely going to have to make clear to the population what the advantage is,” according to Moykens, referring to cultural or sporting events with lots of people.
The tracing app will be complementary to the manual contact tracing already going on, Moykens added.