Jersey contact tracing app launched

ITV Channel TV Credit: Jersey Covid Alert will inform islanders if they have been in close proximity with someone for more than 15 minutes who has coronavirus.

A contact tracing app, costing £240,000, has launched today (14 October). It is designed to alert people in Jersey when they have been near someone with coronavirus.

Jersey Covid Alert will inform islanders if they have been in close proximity with someone for more than 15 minutes who has coronavirus. It is bespoke to the island and has been developed in partnership with Digital Jersey.

The app is free to download and will work alongside the contact tracing team. When an alert comes through to someone, they will be advised to talk with the Contact Tracing Team to get advice specific to their situation.

Gary Burgess has written a blog about the new app. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A press conference was held by the Government of Jersey at this morning for the launch of the app.

Jersey's Director General for Justice and Home Affairs says the app is an additional service to support the work of the Contact Tracing Team.

It has been evidenced that as little as a 15% take up within the population would have an impact on the ability of this virus to spread within the community. If we can continue to work to be safer together, by adhering to public health measures and now signing up for this app; we have a stronger chance to protect those who are vulnerable to COVID in our Island.

Julian Blazeby, Jersey's Director General for Justice and Home Affairs

The team behind the app say it will not rely on GPS tracking and will instead rely on the signal between mobile phones to trace the spread.

It comes as coronavirus numbers on the island rose sharply over the weekend.

Anyone who is made aware they have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus will be urged to call the island's coronavirus helpline and to self-isolate.

Credit: Jersey Covid Alert App

The island's Deputy Medical Officer of Health says the app, in addition to other protective measures, will help prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

With its the addition to the other layers of protective measures we already have in place, such as our Safe Travel policy, physical distancing and greater hygiene we will further improve our ability to continue isolating positive cases and their contacts which will help prevent the further spread of the virus.

Dr Ivan Muscat, Jersey's Deputy Medical Officer of Health

The app is anonymous and only retains necessary data for a 14-day period.

The Chief Executive of Digital Jersey says the app works by using Bluetooth to record the anonymous IDs of devices it comes into contact with.

It does not need any form of personal data from users to set up which protects anonymity and confidentiality. As a close-knit community we are encouraging as many people as possible to download the app to protect their colleagues, their family and their community.

Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey

The Chief Executive of the technology development company, NearForm, says privacy is "at its core" to "empower citizens to protect each other and break transmission chains".

The people of Jersey have a world class tool which has already been successfully rolled out in Ireland, Scotland and several US states, including New York and New Jersey.

Cian Ó Maidín, CEO of NearForm

 Guernsey says is not actively seeking to develop a Contact Tracing app at this time but this will be kept under review.