Nearly a quarter of Malta has downloaded the COVID-19 alert app, according to Superintendent of Health Charmaine Gauci.
Since its launch in September, there have been 84,210 downloads, equating to 17.4% of the population.
The free app called COVID Alert Malta, notifies you if you’ve recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 using a Bluetooth contact tracing system.
It allows for more efficient tracking of the virus, giving health authorities a tool to communicate with people and notify them of any developments.
If you are positive for COVID-19, authorities will send you a code which you input in your app, which then notifies other app users who could be potentially exposed.
There were 337 positive cases who used the app to notify others. According to officials, contacts of these cases have been calling the COVID-19 helpline 11 to request tests.
Globally, download rates of contact-tracing apps have been poor, with an average download rate of 20%.
Malta places just above Italy, which registered 14%. In Germany, 21% downloaded the app while in France just 3%. Iceland and Singapore, one of the first countries to come out with apps, boast highest download rates at 40%.
High download rates are important to be effective because you need lots of people to have the app to increase the chance of coming into contact with someone who has the virus for the system alert you.
But even if Malta gets 20% of its population on the app, there’s only a 4% chance of coming into contact with another app user. If that doubles to 40%, you have a 16% chance of meeting another app user.
Have you downloaded the app?