Italy rolls out covid-19 tracing app

More than two million people have downloaded contact-tracing app in Italy.

Italy begins testing the Immuni contact-tracing app, designed to help contain fresh outbreaks of covid-19, begins on Monday 8 June after getting the green light from the country's privacy ombudsman.

The first trials of the app will begin in the regions of Abruzzo, Liguria, Le Marche and Puglia, with Immuni expected to be in nationwide use by 15 June.

The app, which has been available since 1 June, has so far been downloaded by more than two million people in Italy, according to the nation's special commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, Domenico Arcuri.

However Arcuri has said that in order for the mobile-tracing app to be effective it will need to be used by at least 60 per cent of the Italian population.

Developed by Milan-based startup Bending Spoons, the app tracks the contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Based on bluetooth technology, Immuni is voluntary and authorities insist it will respect security and privacy.

Each smartphone with the app installed will emit regularly an anonymous ID code that can be detected within a few metres by other smartphone users with the same app.

If one of the app-users reports that they have tested positive for the coronavirus, the system makes it possible to inform the people with whom they have been in close contact over previous days.

The app has been described by the government as "an innovative, technological support" to the initiatives already in place to limit the spread of the covid-19 virus.For details of the app - which is currently available in English and Italian - see official website.

Photo credit: La Repubblica