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The Koronavilkku application already used by every third Finn

08/09/2020 - 15:45

Koronavilkku, a mobile application tracking Covid-19 chains of infection, was launched in Finland on August 31st. The app has been downloaded 1,8 million times since its launch, passing the goal set by developers: a million users within the first month. In other words, nearly every third Finn uses the app already.

The app uses Bluetooth technology to collect anonymous information about other users that stay within 2 meters of the user for 15 minutes or longer. Using the app does not require the phone to use data or even be switched on, as long as Bluetooth is switched on. The app doesn’t collect user’s personal information, it sends data on possible exposure based on randomly generated codes. If a user is diagnosed with Covid-19, they can use a code provided by Finnish health care workers to notify other users that have come to contact with them within last three weeks.

The first exposure notifications have been sent through the app at the end of last week. To protect the privacy of infected people, the notifications do not include information about the time or location of the exposure. It is up to the user receiving an exposure notification to decide what to do, but the recommendation is to contact health services and social distance from other people. The app can also redirect the user to Omaolo, a symptom assessment service.

The app is free, and its use is voluntary. However, many health care districts, employers and towns have recommended the use to workers and citizens. The chains of infection will continue to be tracked in other ways as well, but the app is especially helpful in tracking exposure between strangers, for example on public transport.

Many countries have come out with their own Covid tracking apps, but one of the pros of the Finnish app is definitely the high user rate. The app is available in Finland’s official languages Finnish and Swedish, and an English translation is in the works.