Coronavirus Check app opens to public; infection tracking apps still not ready

Apps are a major part of the government’s plan to emerge from the coronacrisis. There has been significant progress on that this week, but also some setbacks.

The cabinet has said several times that there are three criteria the country must meet before the coronavirus rules are relaxed: the health system needs to not be overwhelmed any more; we need to have sufficient testing capacity, and we need a way of tracking who has been infected. It’s the last one that the apps are useful for, but finding a way to track who has been potentially infected without invading privacy is proving difficult.

Appathon fails to produce suitable app for tracking infections

Last weekend, there was an “appathon” to try out some apps that had been developed to track just that: they would be of most use in determining if the user had come into contact with someone else who had been confirmed as infected. Of course, that sort of information is crucial in stopping the spread of the virus, but it’s also quite invasive.

Privacy is a major concern

De Volkskrant reports that generally, security services are encouraging the government to approach the app problem with less haste and more thought. For example, the country where the app is developed should be looked into, as well as the way the app stores data. The House of Representatives will discuss these apps and their possibilities on Wednesday.

OLVG app opens to the public

However, there is another app that has been opened to the public: it helps doctors diagnose coronavirus in patients, which should go some way to unburdening the healthcare system. You input your symptoms, and they’re checked against RIVM guidelines on coronavirus symptoms, NOS reports. If they match, a doctor will call you, and the diagnostic procedure can proceed as normal. However, at the moment, those with mild symptoms are still not being tested and merely advised to stay home.

This app was originally developed by the OLVG hospital in Amsterdam and is called the Corona Check App. It was launched over a month ago, and over 100,000 people have used it. Originally it was just being used by hospitals around the country, but now it is open to everyone. 50 employees at the OLVG are monitoring it.

What are your thoughts on apps being used to diagnose and track coronavirus? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: wikipedia/CC/Apus

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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