Published 07 May 2020
More than 5.1 million Australians have downloaded the government's COVID-19 tracing App (COVIDSafe) since it was launched on April 26th, however, government officials insist that the app requires an uptake of at least 40% (10 million) of the population for it to be effective.
Government officials say a minimum 40% uptake of the COVID-19 tracing App would give political leaders the ability to be more confident in easing restrictions.
The Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy is urging more Australians to take part.
“In terms of the app, what we've always said is that the more people that download the app, the more confidence the National Cabinet will have about that one aspect of our preparedness that we're still a little bit anxious about - the capacity to really get on top of contacts as quickly as possible. So there is no magic number. The more we have signed up of those 16 million, the more confidence I'll be able to give National Cabinet that they can make a decision. But the more confidence they have, the more bold they might be,” Murphy said.
While Australia has done very well in flattening the curve, Murphy says there are still new cases, there's still small outbreaks being detected, and there's still some evidence of low level community transmission. Murphy says we cannot get complacent and we need to be extremely cautious about the need to move slowly in easing restrictions.
Murphy says another important precondition in giving the National Cabinet the confidence to ease restrictions is increasing testing for COVID-19. To date, Australia has undertaken over 688,000 COVID-19 tests with 1.0% of these testing positive. "Once we have really good strong testing, as we've said on many occasions, that will make us much more confident about relaxing restrictions," Murphy said.
Australia has had a total of 6,875 cases, with 5,984 recovered and 97 deaths.