France, UK to trial COVID-19 tracing apps next week

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PARIS/LONDON: France and the UK will start the trials of the their respective COVID-19 tracing apps from next week, the two governments have confirmed. French Minister for Digital Affairs Cedric O said on Sunday the testing of the “StopCOVID” contact tracing app will begin on May 11 when the country starts to ease lockdown measures, Xinhua news agency.

The Minister presented the state-supported app as a key element of France’s strategy to stave off the pandemic, as authorities grapple with the prospect of mass testing. “There’s nothing magical about this app, but it’s not technological coquetry either,” he wrote on online publishing platform Medium.

“It’s only useful if it’s integrated into a global health system.” Meanwhile, the UK will begin the trial its own coronavirus contact tracing app next week on the Isle of Wight, according to Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove.

“This week we will be piloting new test, track and trace procedures on the Isle of Wight, with a view to having that in place more widely later this month,” Gove told a news conference Sunday. As of Monday, France reported 168,925 COVID-19 cases, with 24,900 deaths, while the UK registered 187,842 infections and 28,520 fatalities.