Irish contact tracing app may be made available in Northern Ireland

A contact tracing app may be made available to people living in Northern Ireland as part of an all-island approach to tackling Covid-19, Ireland's Health Minister has said.

Simon Harris was asked in the Dail on Thursday if the contact tracing app would be made available on Apple iTunes so people in the region could use it.

The HSE is aiming to release its contact tracing app, to help identify close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19, by the end of this month.

The app will only be available on smartphones and will use Bluetooth technology.

He said: "This app will be very much complementary to what the chief medical officer has described as shoe leather, ie the ongoing work in relation to contact tracing.

"Some countries have used this app to replace the more traditional route of contact tracing.

"It is my intention that it would of course be available to residents in Northern Ireland through the UK Apple Store.

"I will come back about the ways in which we can make that happen and we are having conversations with colleagues in relation to an all-island approach, of which this is one element."

He said he had had a number of engagements with the Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann and the First and Deputy First Minister about the approach being taken in recent weeks.

"We want an all-island approach and we are working very hard to do that," he said.