In Italy, Far Too Few Have Tracing App

Immuni can't be effective if only 2 million people have it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2020 11:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Italian government’s point person on combating the COVID-19 pandemic says so far not enough Italians have downloaded an app to help health authorities trace contacts with persons testing positive for the virus. Domenico Arcuri said in an interview with Italian state TV on Sunday that 2 million people in Italy have downloaded Immuni, the app that uses Bluetooth technology to signal when someone comes in close contact with an infected person. That number is "still too few," Arcuri said. He was referring to experts' advising that at least 60% of the nation's 60 million people would have to use the app, the AP reports, for contact-tracing to be effective.

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As Italy gradually emerges from lockdown, allowing travel to resume throughout the country for whatever reason, the health minister and scientific experts who advise him have urged citizens to use Immuni. Arcuri called the app "a very useful component for the strategy of the last weeks" to gradually reopen the country. The government says the app will safeguard privacy. Users won’t be told who tests positive but instead will receive a notification urging them to be tested. Arcuri originally pledged the app would be up and running by the end of May. Later, authorities said it should be operating across the country before the end of June. (The global COVID-19 death toll crosses 400,000.)

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