‘No’: Savage dig at press conference

Victoria’s health Minister had a blunt reply when answering a question about the federal government’s COVIDSafe app.

The federal government’s coronavirus-tracing app has identified no cases in Victoria’s latest Covid-19 outbreak, according to the state’s health minister.

When questioned if the COVIDSafe app had been used or identified any cases in the latest outbreak to plunge Victoria into its fourth lockdown in 12 months, Martin Foley had a blunt reply.

“No. Not to my knowledge and I‘m sure in such a rare event it would have been brought to my attention,” he said on Monday afternoon.

The Morrison government launched the COVIDSafe app in April last year in a bid to help Australia tackle the ongoing threat of coronavirus.

The app used encrypted Bluetooth communications between smartphones to identify when people had been within 1.5m of another user for 15 minutes.

If an app user tested positive to Covid-19, they could upload that information to a central database where it could be accessed by state health officials to warn them of the close contact.

But the app has been subject to criticism over its lack of success in identifying Covid contacts.

Since April there had also been a dozen software updates pushed out to fix bugs, security flaws, and make the app work more effectively on iPhones when the screen is locked.

The Digital Transformation Agency – which is responsible for the development of the app – told a Senate estimates committee late last year that just 66 per cent of the app’s users had the most up-to-date version, including 63% of iPhone users, and 74% of Android users.

It was also revealed the app had an upkeep cost of around $75,000 per month.

During another Senate estimates last week the DTA claimed 567 close contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases had been located through the app since its launch in April.

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