Germany’s official COVID-19 warning app downloaded 11.8 mln times

Germany’s official COVID-19 warning app had been downloaded 11.8 million times in less than a week after its launch, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Monday.

“A key element in the fight against any pandemic is to interrupt the chains of infection,” the RKI noted. In this regard, the COVID-19 warning app could make an “important contribution” and also support the work of health authorities in tracking contacts.

The app would run on more than 85 percent of smartphones available in Germany, said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in Berlin on Monday.

German software corporation SAP and Deutsche Telekom, the app’s developers, had promised to look into ways to make the app available for even more types of smartphones, according to Seibert.

According to Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hottges, around 65 percent of the population in Germany has a smartphone, with more than 50 million smartphones in active use.

The app uses Bluetooth low-energy technology to measure the distance and duration of contact between people who have installed the app. After 14 days, the collected data would be automatically deleted from phones.

Almost one in three Germans who had not yet installed the app on their smartphone doubted that the app was of any use, according to a survey published by the market research institute YouGov on Monday.

Some Germans were concerned that their data was not secure and feared that they would be monitored by the government via the app, according to YouGov.

Last week, Germany’s Minister of Health Jens Spahn stressed that “the app is not a panacea, but an important tool to contain the virus. The best way to do this is to get a lot of people to join in.”