Australia has launched a smartphone app to trace folks that are available contact with coronavirus patients despite privacy concerns that authorities insisted Sunday were unwarranted.

The COVIDSafe app uses a phone’s Bluetooth wireless signal to store information about people’s interactions and might be accessed by health officials if someone contracts coronavirus.

Australia’s chief medical practitioner Brendan Murphy said the app would speed up a “laborious process” for health authorities tracking down users who are within 1.5 metres of somebody who has the virus.

“What this can do is provides a list of the transportable numbers of these folks that are in grips within that distance for quarter-hour or more,” he said.

“That may lead to someone being contacted each day or two ahead of they otherwise may are.”

Australia has recorded just over 6,700 cases of COVID-19 and 83 deaths from the virus.

The rise in infections has slowed considerably in recent weeks, with just 16 new cases recorded across the country Sunday.

Health officials say widespread take-up of the app would help them to ease tough restrictions on movement and gatherings. just below half Australia’s population would want to download the program for it to be a good tool.

The app is free and sign-up is voluntary, despite initial suggestions it may well be made mandatory.

In an endeavour to alleviate privacy concerns, users can provide a fake name and police cannot access the information to research crimes, while all information is automatically deleted after 21 days.

“What we’ve done is strip back the function so it’s one job and one job alone which is that if you’re positive, to be ready to make that available only to the state public health authorities, with nobody else having access,” health minister Greg Hunt said.

Singapore pioneered the utilization of coronavirus tracing apps, and work on implementing digital contact tracing is underway in France, Germany, Britain et al.

In us, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden cited contact tracing as a part of thought “to safely reopen America” together with expanded testing and other steps.