Estonia and Latvia are reportedly among the first countries to launch smartphone apps tracing coronavirus (COVID-19) infections based on code developed by US tech giants Apple and Google.
Using smartphones to help trace coronavirus infections is considered one of the ways to curb the spread of the pandemic. Tracings apps are hoped to allow identification and fast isolating of people suspected of carrying the virus and testing those who might have been in contact with them.
An important issue in tracing the infections is also setting a standard for the apps so that they could work across borders. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems have all but monopolized smartphones globally.
“[We] believe that reliance on this standard will ensure widespread adoption and also compatibility over time with contact tracing apps around the world that are also expected to adopt the same exposure notification framework,” the developers of the Latvian app – named Apturi Covid (Stop Covid) - said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Among other countries reported to be early adopters of the Apple/Google standard for the tracing app were Estonia as well as Germany and Switzerland. There is a debate in Europe, however, over which app technology countries should adopt with some – like France – going the way of developing their own app, not compatible with the Apple/Google one.