News Coronavirus PM defends widely panned COVIDSafe tracing app

PM defends widely panned COVIDSafe tracing app

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Scott Morrison has issued a robust defence of his government’s tracing app amid criticisms surrounding its effectiveness in mapping infections.

The Prime Minister insists the COVIDSafe app is working as designed and has been involved in tracing more than 300 cases in Victoria.

“It’s supposed to work in combination with the physical tracing that is done by contact officers – the two go together,” he told Triple M Melbourne on Wednesday.

“Technically, it’s working fine.”

While the app has been involved in tracing infections, it has not identified any unknown close contacts.

“It’s doing its job but it was never supposed to be in isolation to replace physical tracing,” Mr Morrison said.

“The physical tracing is quickly identifying a lot of the contacts.”

Concerns have been previously raised about the government’s reluctance to be honest about the limitations of the app, as well as its collection, use and disclosure of data.

Legislation was subsequently passed in Parliament to ensure that the app would have stronger privacy protections.

That hasn’t stopped Labor from describing  the $2 million app as an expensive dud, with government senator Matt Canavan also conceding the technology had not been as successful as first hoped.

“People taking pot shots at it, I think, are just undermining confidence and that’s not a good thing,” the Prime Minister said.

“It’s a good thing to get people to download the app and not be throwing stones.”

-with AAP