The Canary Islands will launch the Radar COVID tracking app in August

Published on August 07, 2020
Canary IslandsNews from Canary Islands
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The results of the pilot test in La Gomera demonstrate the success of the app in tracking COVID-19 infections

The Ministries of Health and Public Administrations, Justice and Security from the Government of the Canary Islands announced that during the second half of August the mobile application Radar COVID will be implemented throughout the territory of the Archipelago to track possible Coronavirus infections among the population, after successfully passing the pilot test carried out in La Gomera.

The pilot test for this tool, which began on June 29 and ended on July 31, included the simulation of four waves of fictitious outbreaks of COVID-19. The app was downloaded on the island of La Gomera by around 3,200 people, exceeding the target of 3,000 Users originally set. Therefore, the first objective of the test, which was to evaluate the receptivity of citizens to this application, was far exceeded.

In addition, according to the results obtained, the app detects 6.4 close contacts for each positive in COVID-19, which makes it easier to track the chain of contacts of each infected person.

Finally, regarding the commitment of users in the communication of fictitious positives, 61% of active communications were reached, of which 78% occurred in the 24 hours after receiving the simulated contagion code.

These good results obtained will help health authorities assess the viability of implementing this technological tool in each of their territories, to reduce the impact of new infections, stop possible outbreaks and effectively cut a possible chain of infections.

In this sense, the app will be operational in the Canary Islands in mid-August, while in the rest of the national territory it could be implemented in mid-September, depending on the decision of the local authorities.

Pilot test for the RADAR COVID app in La Gomera

The Canary Islands Health Service and the General Directorates of Modernization and New Technologies, together with the Cabildo de La Gomera, collaborated with the Ministry of Health and SEDIA in this technological project, to analyze the possibility of this tracing app working effectively in a real setting for the detection and monitoring of possible positive cases of coronavirus.

The Radar COVID testing process in La Gomera was developed in three phases:

  • Start-up: create a public awareness campaign through dissemination in the media and local institutions. The campaign was also extended to shipping companies and airlines that operate on the island to reach the foreign population that visits La Gomera.
  • Monitoring: which involved the simulation of infections and their monitoring. The first step was to simulate a first positive for COVID-19, which was followed by three other waves of infections.
  • Post-pilot: the four objectives of this process were measured: adoption (how many people downloaded the app); effectiveness (how well it has worked); engagement (how many positives were communicated), and retention (how many users kept the app active)

Guaranteed privacy

The development uses a decentralized model, based on the Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) protocol, the most respectful of user privacy. This implies that only the encrypted identifiers that each mobile phone issues are sent to the server, not those it receives from other nearby terminals. From time to time, mobile phones download the new identifiers of confirmed infections to compare with their records. In other words, the data collation and risk analysis is always carried out on the user's mobile and not on a server, which guarantees privacy.

This application complies, therefore, with all the guarantees established by European regulations to safeguard the privacy of citizens. Furthermore, it guarantees proportionality and minimizes the use of personal data. The use of the application will be voluntary and framed within the limits of the health emergency, in strict compliance with the recommendations of the European Commission in this regard.

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