Revealed: MoH puts daily Covid Tracer app health checks on ice

Author
Aaron Dahmen,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Aug 2020, 5:00AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Revealed: MoH puts daily Covid Tracer app health checks on ice

Author
Aaron Dahmen,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Aug 2020, 5:00AM

The Ministry of Health has shelved proposals to use the Covid Tracer app to record isolating Kiwis' daily health checks.

Newstalk ZB can reveal the function was forecast to be rolled out in May, but documents obtained under the Official Information Act show repeated delays, before the feature was deferred in favour of the national contact tracing system.

The Ministry of Health says the digital option is still on the table - but the focus has been on major app developments, like being able to add your own location.

That means manual checks continue, by phone or in person, for returnees in managed isolation, and more intensely for those in quarantine.

A spokesperson says if the app function was implemented, it would allow returnees to do their check-ins using just the app, should that be appropriate for the person’s health needs.

If someone didn’t want to use the app, they would still be able to talk to a real person instead.

Newstalk ZB has also obtained figures that show exactly where cash went, as officials scrambled to get the troubled app ready for public use.

Less than a week after the app's launch in May, $1.27m had been dished out on Covid Tracer - which has since been plagued by uptake issues.  

That includes almost $900,000 for development, and $200,000 towards temporary surge capacity to deal with public phone calls.

To date, there is a total of $2.61 million of approved funding for the app, with more allocation available if required.

NZ Covid Tracer now has around 637,000 registered users.