France times StopCovid tracking app release with reopening of bars, restaurants
The StopCovid tracking application, intended to map out the spread of the coronavirus, is to be made available from Tuesday 2 June at midday, Cedric O, the French state minister for digital affairs has announced.
"Tuesday at noon, the French will be able to...see the application and download it" on their phones, according to O.
The availability of the app coincides with the cautious reopening of bars and restaurant terraces across France.
O had initially indicated that the application was to be launched last weekend, but the deadline was missed due to technical problems.
"We are currently promoting the application at the app-stores of Apple and Google, but there is a review time," he said.
The purpose of the StopCovid application is to let users know if they have been in the vicinity of people who may have been infected with the Covid-19 virus. In the event that the owner of the app is contaminated, the app warns anybody he or she have been in contact with over the past two weeks.
O stressed that “as many people as possible" should download the app and put it to use, while the main target will be inhabitants of large cities, especially Paris, where the highest concentrations of the virus were found.
He singled out people "who use public transport, people who visit to restaurants or who frequent supermarkets at peak times".
Critics have expressed worry that the application may infringe on personal freedoms and privacy.
But O defended the app, citing “epidemiological studies” that point out that once it’s put to work, the application helps to avoid contamination.
He also lauded the low cost of the StopCovid app as a public safety measure: it only costs as much as the salaries of the public officials involved in its development, as the companies that created the app did so for free.
The cost "will not exceed more than a few hundred thousand euros per month", according to O.
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