Last updated 1 week ago by Michael Darmanin
While each of us are trying to do our part to combat the corona virus, another tool has been released to help in the fight. On October 10th, the CoronaMelder app was released from beta nationally to assist with contact tracing efforts. The app uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have been near someone for more than 15 minutes who tested positive for corona.
What is the CoronaMelder App?
The CoronaMelder App was created by the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport in partnership with the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and the municipal health services (GGDs). The goal of the app is to assist the GGD’s contact tracing efforts and help notify people who might have come into contact with someone else who had the virus. In this way, people can know sooner if there was a risk of exposure and take appropriate action. It is the hope that if people are quickly informed then they can get tested and reduce the amount of people they might potentially expose.
How does it work?
Once you download the app to your phone, the app will use Bluetooth technology to check for other devices around you. It’s just like when you connect to a wireless speaker or headset. The closer you are to other devices, the stronger this signal is. It’s important to note that the app will not have access to your location or any other personal information. A random code is all that is passed back and forth between devices. The app has no idea who you are or who anyone else using the app is.
If someone tests positive for the corona virus they have the option to voluntarily add this information to the CoronaMelder app. Once this is done, the app will send a notification to any other device this person has been around recently. The Bluetooth signal needs to be strong and you must have been near the person for more than 15 minutes to receive an alert. The alert will simply inform you the date you were near someone who tested positive and will not give information on who was positive or where you were when you passed them. If you receive an alert that you have been near someone who tested positive, the alert will also tell you what to do next. As always, follow the current advice from the RIVM.
Where can I sign up?
The app is downloadable on the Apple or Google Play stores but will only work on certain operating system versions. For iOS, you need to be running iOS 13.5 or higher and for Android, you need to be on version 6 or higher. When you download the app, you will not have to enter any personal contact details whatsoever. All you need to do is agree to the privacy terms of the app, turn on notifications for the app and turn on COVID-19 exposure logging. Remember, it is not mandatory and you can delete it at any time.
Here in Utrecht we can do our part by adhering to the government guidelines and downloading the app to assist with contact tracing efforts.