France's contact tracing app downloaded 600,000 times in 24 hours

The French flag with the blue sky in the background

Since launching its contact tracing app on Tuesday afternoon, it has been downloaded around 600,000 times, according to the country’s digital minister. The StopCovid France app has been designed to try and prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections by using smartphones to detect when users go near someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. In turn, those who receive a warning can isolate until they’ve taken a test themselves to determine whether they’re infected.

As with the app being developed in the United Kingdom, StopCovid France uses a centralised model and doesn’t use Google and Apple’s API which became available in mid-May. Some believe that the centralised model offers less anonymity and that data could later be re-purposed. Other countries around Europe including Latvia, Italy, and Switzerland have released apps based on Google and Apple’s API.

Giving his opinion on the number of downloads, Digital Minister Cedric O stated:

“As of this morning, 600,000 people managed to download the app, so it's a very very good start. We are very happy with his [sic] start, but obviously several million French people need to have it.”

The minister did not specify how many people would need to download the app but BBC reports that the government is looking to get “city-dwellers” on board as these people are more likely to be using public transport, visiting restaurants, and doing their shopping at peak times when COVID-19 is most likely to spread.

Once most countries have their contact tracing products available via app stores, it’ll be interesting to see whether opting for the decentralised model was beneficial in persuading people to download their respective country’s app, or not.

Source: BBC News

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