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Cyprus Will Use Voluntary COVID-19 Tracer Mobile Phone App

NICOSIA – More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyprus has unveiled a contract tracing application for cell phones to track the course of infections as it tries to ease a lockdown and open for tourism.

The creation of CovTracer-EN is part of a wider European initiative, reported The Mayor.EU about the initiative that comes as privacy groups earlier expressed worry that apps could be an invasive tool.

The new national CovTracer was presented to reporters, told it was a complementary tool for tracking the contacts of coronavirus carriers.

It was developed by the CYENS Centre of Excellence and KIOS Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National E-Health Authority.

CovTracer-EN uses Bluetooth and records user contacts as, with those who’ve tested positive having the option to fill in the diagnostic code provided by the Epidemiological Unit of the Ministry of Health.

That would let them anonymously inform their possible contacts to also be tested but it wasn't explained how effective it would be if a large portion of carriers don’t want to use it as it’s not mandatory.

A common portal – the European Federation Gateway Service – helps connect national databases and control virus transmission across Europe.

"Now that we attempt a gradual restart, the need to intensify contact tracing becomes imperative," said Health Minister Konstantinos Ioannou, adding that the tool will be included in the fight against the pandemic.

Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister to the President for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, cited research data showing that even a 15 percent use by the population can reduce infections by 15 percent and deaths by 11 percent.

The app is available in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store too. 

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