Sunday, 13 December 2020

About that Bluetooth App, Prime Minister...


“Launching a Bluetooth capable COVID-tracing App, as the Government did four days ago, should have been a major milestone in fighting COVID. Astonishingly, the Government has said nothing more about it, even the App statistics have not been updated since Friday, when they were poor.

"There has been no update on whether people are switching on the bluetooth capability in the NZ COVID Tracer App, who knows if it's being used enough to make a difference?

“The ability to rapidly trace outbreaks could save New Zealand from damaging lockdowns while allowing us to safely reconnect with the rest of the world. It has been a long time coming, now it’s here the Government treats it like an afterthought.

“Since a single press release on Wednesday, there has been no commentary, no update, just radio silence from the Government on its COVID Tracer App. The Minister for COVID-19 Response and the Prime Minister haven’t so much as tweeted about the upgraded NZ COVID Tracer App, as if the new Bluetooth capability doesn’t exist. The Prime Minister did find time to share pictures of herself in a 1998 High School Science competition on Friday though. Where is the leadership?

“The App only works if there is widespread uptake. It should be showing leadership and explaining why it’s so important to for everyone to use the new bluetooth capability so it will be effective. There has been no noticeable advertising campaign from the Government either.

“The Government's silence leads us to wonder: Does it believe in its own App? If yes, why is there not more encouragement for New Zealanders to download it and switch on Bluetooth tracing? If no, then why should any of us bother?

“There hasn’t been an update on uptake or data since Friday, although it appears nothing remarkable has happened with the number of people using the app having plummeted over the past six months. Sadly, Friday’s figures were not flash.

“ACT has been saying since July that the Government should augment its approach to COVID-19 with better technology since July. The release of a Bluetooth capable App is a major milestone, if only the Government would get in behind and promote it.