Health minister Stephen Donnelly has today welcomed EU-wide co-operation to link national COVID-19 apps, to break the chain of coronavirus infections across borders.
Ireland’s COVID tracker app is one of the first wave of national apps linked through the European inter-operability gateway.
Those with the Irish app will receive an alert if they are a close contact anyone with a confirmed diagnosis, who has installed an approved EU member state app on their phone.
This EU-wide system was developed by the European Commission, following a request from EU member states.
After a successful pilot phase, the system goes live today with three national apps now linked: Ireland’s COVID tracker, Germany’s Corona-Warn-App and Italy’s Immuni app.
Minister Donnelly said: "Ireland has consistently been a leader in the development of contact tracing apps and had one of the world’s most successful contact tracing app launches, with a huge uptake in the first 24 hours.
“Currently the app has more than 1.3 million active users. The Irish app already works on an all-island basis and today’s launch of the European Federated Gateway Service will facilitate apps working on a pan-European basis.”
The minister continued “Today’s announcement is another important tool in the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
"While the general advice in Ireland is currently against non-essential travel overseas, this system will be of benefit for those undertaking essential travel to and from Ireland.
“I am again asking everyone across the country to download the app. The more people who download the app the more effective the app will be.”
The app has had 2.1 million registrations since its launch, and has an active user base of 1.31 million, or 34% of the 16+ adult population.
Data on the app is fully anonymised and alerts advise taking the necessary precautions as set out by the national public health authority.
Ireland and the North were the first in the world to achieve interoperability between apps from different jurisdictions in 2020.
To date, over 3,000 users of the app in Ireland who have tested positive have uploaded their random IDs so that others can be alerted of close contacts.
More than 5,800 people have been sent close contact alerts as a result of carrying the app. Some of these may not otherwise have been identified.