From this Saturday, all Dutch people can download a special app to help limit the spread of the corona virus. We have listed five frequently asked questions about that app.
1. What is the corona app?
The corona app is officially called the CoronaMelder. If the Dutch install these, they can see whether they have been in the vicinity of a person infected with the corona virus, provided the sick person has also installed the app on his or her smartphone and the GGD has given permission for this.
The CoronaMelder uses the Bluetooth signal from a telephone to recognize devices belonging to others in the vicinity. This also looks at signal strength: the stronger the reception, the closer someone was.
If a user of the app is infected with the virus, a message is sent to all devices that have been in the vicinity of the user around the infection period. That way, others know they may have been infected. The message is only sent if the patient agrees with the GGD.
If you receive such a message, you will be advised to stay at home in quarantine for ten days. You don’t have to get tested right away. You can only do this in case of complaints, which has been the policy for some time.
In the first test, it was intended that all recipients of a message would be tested, but due to shortages of test capacity and GGD personnel, this was forced to refrain from doing so.
Everyone in the Netherlands can use the CoronaMelder from 10 October. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have approved the national roll-out of the software.
Before that date, the CoronaMelder can already be downloaded from the app stores Apple in Google, but after installation it can only be used until Saturday in the regions of Drenthe, Gelderland-South, IJsselland, North and East Gelderland and Twente. The app is already being tested there in preparation for the national rollout.
According to the government, the app only uses random codes that are exchanged via bluetooth. No personal or location data has been processed there. Users would therefore remain anonymous.
Privacy watchdog Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) warned in August that the servers used had to be properly secured. Clear agreements also had to be made with Apple and Google. Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) said on August 28 that the app no longer contains any privacy risks.