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‘Failed’ COVIDSafe phone app scrapped

The government has scrapped its COVIDSafe app, which only identified 17 close contacts that hadn’t already been identified manually.

August 10, 2022
By Mibenge Nsenduluka and Melissa Meehan
10 August 2022

The federal government has scrapped the COVIDSafe app as it is no longer being used for contact tracing.

Touted as a pathway out of lockdown when launched two years ago, the app has now been dubbed a complete failure.

Only two positive COVID-19 cases were identified through the app since April 2020, which were not found by manual contact tracers.

It only identified 17 close contacts that hadn’t already been identified manually.

There were a total 7.9 million registrations of the app in the month following its launch but less than 800 users consented to their data being added to the National COVIDSafe Data Store for contact tracing.

On Tuesday, app users were sent a notification advising them the program is no longer in use and encouraging them to delete it.

“COVIDSafe is being decommissioned. The app is no longer being used in contact tracing,” it read.

“This update removes functionality of the app so no information is stored or collected. This will enable the decommission process of COVIDSafe.”

Health Minister Mark Butler says the app failed as a public health measure and was “a colossal waste of more than $21 million of taxpayers money”.

Meanwhile, business travel is making a comeback despite rising COVID-19 case numbers across Australia.

More than 21,000 new infections and 117 deaths were announced in NSW, Victoria and Queensland on Wednesday, following more than a hundred fatalities recorded nationwide the previous day.

There are more than 265,000 active virus cases nationally, with more than 4500 patients in hospital care. 

Travel management company Corporate Traveller says businesses need to maintain more detailed planning in light of the ongoing Omicron wave.

Global managing director Tom Walley says understanding the terms of travel insurance, selecting staff who have recently recovered from COVID-19 and having back-up travellers ready could provide some certainty for business and those travelling.

He says it’s also important to be aware of destination requirements and restrictions.

The federal government’s Smartraveller website says despite increasing vaccination numbers, countries and territories continue to experience sudden disease outbreaks.

“If you’re considering travelling overseas, you must understand the risks of contracting COVID-19 in your destination and the financial implications this may have on you, and those travelling with you,” it says.


NSW: 11,356 cases, 30 deaths, 2212 in hospital with 55 in ICU

Victoria: 5898 cases, 52 deaths, 610 in hospital with 30 in ICU

Queensland: 3809 cases, 35 deaths, 656 in hospital with 21 in ICU

Tasmania: 669 cases, one death, 76 in hospital with none in ICU

NT: 205 cases, one death, 33 in hospital with two in ICU

WA: 2889 cases, four deaths, 339 in hospital with eight in ICU.

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