Ways to speed up contract tracing
The Australian Government has released the COVIDSafe app as a way of using our smart phones to keep track of contacts with other people; if we happen to interact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 (who also has the app), our contact details are available to streamline contact tracing so we can be notified more quickly.
Being cautious about your personal data and how information from your smart phone could be used in this digital age is warranted.
It is voluntary to use the COVIDSafe app but to be effective the app does need 40% of the population to sign up for it. Millions of Australians have downloaded the app so far, including many of us at Australian Red Cross.
It may reassure you to know that Australia’s Human Rights Commission supports the introduction of the app as a public health tool, but knowing that you and your loved ones could be notified more quickly of potential exposure to the virus can bring additional reassurance as we navigate the unpredictability of this situation as a community.
If you have been thinking about doing it and just haven’t got around to it, now’s the time! Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a phone, or feel uncomfortable in using a phone or downloading the app, you can always keep a brief diary of where you’ve been and who you’ve been in contact with. This can serve as a memory jogger in case you do need to recall your steps and who you met.
As members of a global organisation, we are connected to colleagues in Red Cross Societies around the world. For months now we have followed their horrific experiences, witnessed their extraordinary bravery as frontline volunteers, and tried to support from afar. We feel incredibly fortunate that until now, Australia has so far been spared the tragedy that is impacting so many countries around the world. As a nation we have ‘flattened the curve’, but we must not be complacent and need to do all we can to keep it that way.