Canada: Only 5% of Ontarians use national COVID Alert app to report infections
Ottawa/IBNS: Use of national COVID Alert app by just a fraction of Ontario's population in Canada has resulted in a slow reportage of infections during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, media reports said.
The COVID Alert app is used in eight of the provinces, with British Columbia and Alberta the sole holdouts, and has been downloaded to nearly 4.7 million phones across Canada.
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, has said during a news conference that the number of downloads is promising, but not enough.
Figures provided by the provincial government show COVID Alert users have reported 1,354 cases through the app since its launch on July 31.
Of more than 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported by Ontario since its launch means that approximately five per cent have been using the app to report their cases of Coronavirus infections.
Public health experts said that these figures, however, do not mean the app should be written off as a failure.
With many good features and strong privacy protections, the app needs to be used in large numbers to be most effective said Yaffe.
"The COVID Alert app has been effective in supporting early detection, testing and self-isolation," said a spokesperson for Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, who oversees Ontario's digital government efforts, in an emailed statement.
"The more people who have the app, the more effective the province will be at stopping the spread of COVID-19."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)