Canada launches COVID-19 tracking app - but only in Ontario

The on-boarding process is simple and explains how the app works

In addition, the company said public health authorities in 16 countries and regions outside the United States had launched apps using the Apple-Google tool.

The app is now only live in Ontario, launching weeks after a test-run across the province was delayed.

Once users download the app, all they have to do is select their province to begin.

The app compiles anonymized data and uses reports from confirmed positive virus cases to let users know when they've been near someone who has the virus.

The app then checks a list of codes from people several times a day from people who tell the app they've tested positive.

- If you're now near someone who was previously diagnosedAccording to the app's description, provincial and territorial governments are working to support COVID Alert across Canada, and in some places, people can't yet report a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Speaking from the Public Health Agency of Canada on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an "innovative" solution and encouraged people across the country to download it. The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

"This Ontario-made app keeps people informed about being potentially exposed to the virus and allows them to act quickly to stop the spread of the virus".

For users of Apple devices, the app works on operating systems iOS 13.5 and higher, meaning some people might have to either upgrade their operating systems or not be able to use it on older smartphones.

COVID Alert uses Bluetooth technology to register when devices with the app may come into proximity with one another, and works in the background of users' phones. You need to be closer than two metres to someone positive with the coronavirus for at least 15 minutes before your phone records that as a connection.

Trudeau said the federal government is working with the Atlantic provinces to integrate their system with the app next.

Officials said the government has been working with federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien's office to address any privacy concerns.



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