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First Covid-19 Contact Tracing App With Apple-Google Technology Launched

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Switzerland has launched coronavirus contact-tracing app that was developed using the Exposure Notifications technology from Google and Apple, to prevent further spread of the virus.

SwissCovid App, jointly developed by teams at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne on behalf of the federal government, is the first app to use the latest application programming interface or API from the U.S. tech majors.

The new contact tracing app is now entering a trial phase run under the supervision of the country's Federal Office of Public Health and the Federal Office of Information technology, Systems and Telecommunication and in close cooperation with cantonal doctors. As part of the trial, members of the Swiss army, hospital workers and civil servants can now install the app.

The pilot phase will run till the end of June at the latest. However, it is expected that the pilot will produce results much sooner, and that parliament will be able to pass draft legislation in its next session at the start of June. This would allow the SwissCovid app to be rolled out quickly to the entire Swiss population.

As people are gradually returning to normal life following the easing of the lockdown in the country, the government is concerned about a second wave of infection. The trial of the contact tracing app is expected to ensure help to stem the spread of the virus.

Srdjan Capkun, a developer of the SwissCovid app, said, "This is not 'only' a smartphone app, but a complex distributed contact tracing system. Its main purpose is to notify people of exposure to infected persons. But it is also designed to preserve user privacy, enable roaming between countries, and work on top of existing smartphone software and hardware."

In was in last week that Apple and Google joined together to release a smartphone technology to automatically notify users regarding the possible exposure to the Covid-19. The companies then noted that the access to the technology will be granted only to public health authorities, who can incorporate it into their own apps that people install, for contact tracing.

Apple and Google then said that 22 countries, as well as some US states, had requested access to their API.

BBC reported that Latvia is also developing its Apturi Covid app incorporating the software tool from Apple and Google.

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