The Hague, 25 August 2020 - The CoronaMelder coronavirus app is in an advanced stage of development. CoronaMelder is currently being trialled in several regions in the Netherlands and will offer multiple language options, including English, German, Polish and Turkish, among others.
The CoronaMelder app, which may soon be implemented nationwide, has the potential to complement RIVM guidelines to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus. The RIVM is the national Dutch institute responsible for public health and environmental issues. A field trial to determine how well CoronaMelder performs began on 17 August. The goal in introducing it, is to provide extra support to the source and contact tracing programme already being run by the GGD (Dutch public health services). Any rollout will be voluntary – whether you download and use the app will be up to the individual.
The coronavirus is still present in the Netherlands. This makes it very important to remain alert and follow the basic rules: stay 1.5 metres away from other people, work from home whenever possible, avoid crowds and wash your hands regularly. Do you have any of the known symptoms? Then get tested and stay at home. We can only protect each other if we detect new infections quickly.
CoronaMelder could help with this. Thanks to the app, it will be possible to notify more people more quickly if they have been near to someone for at least 15 minutes who has tested positive for the coronavirus. This could be someone you know or someone you sat near to on public transport who also has the app installed on their phone. This way, CoronaMelder can also contact people that the person who has been confirmed as having the coronavirus doesn’t know or remember. In this way the app could complement the regular source and contact tracing already being performed by the GGD. And because so many more people could be tested sooner, the risk of a further spread of the virus is reduced.
Also available in other languages
It is vital that as many people as possible use the CoronaMelder app. The app has therefore been developed to support multiple languages. As well as Dutch, available languages include English, German, Polish and Turkish, among others. If your phone is set to any of these languages, the app will automatically work in your preferred language.
Job Jansweijer, a researcher with the CoronaMelder development team, explains: “We are continuously testing the use of the app among various target groups in order to make the CoronaMelder app as convenient and clear as possible for everyone. People who want to use the app should be able to do so easily, and this includes ensuring that language is not a barrier. We can only keep the coronavirus in check if we work together. It is therefore important to explain the app’s use and how it works clearly and reach people who either do not speak Dutch or maybe only speak limited Dutch.”
5 facts about the CoronaMelder app
- The app is still in development
- Use of the app is voluntary. Nobody can force you to use the app.
- CoronaMelder uses bluetooth wireless technology to connect with other phones close by. It does not use GPS location data. This means that while the app knows who you have been near to, it does not know where that happened. It therefore cannot be used to track you.
- The app does not require you to enter any personal details such as your name or phone number.
- CoronaMelder does not provide real-time notification to warn you about people nearby who are known to have caught the coronavirus. This means that even if you have the app on your phone, it is still important to stay 1.5 metres apart and to wash your hands frequently.
On 17 August, field tests were begun in five GGD regions: GGD Twente, GGD IJsselland, GGD Drenthe, GGD Gelderland-Zuid and GGD Noord- en Oost-Gelderland. If you live in one of those regions, or are planning to visit, you can take part in the trial by downloading the CoronaMelder app from the Google Play Store or App store.