Revealed: Why New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ‘skeptical’ about Australia’s coronavirus tracing app
- Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand ‘cannot rely’ on the coronavirus tracing app
- She said ‘we can’t put all our eggs in one basket’ as the app uptake must be high
- New Zealand are reducing coronavirus restrictive measures on Monday night
- Thousands of Kiwis will go back to work though social distancing is still in place
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outed herself as an app sceptic, but still plans to push on with a version of Australia’s COVIDSafe app in her country.
More than one million Australians downloaded the coronavirus tracing app within hours of its release.
The Australian app uses similar technology to the Singaporean tracing program, which is also being used as the foundation in New Zealand.
‘I remain a bit skeptical about what it’s going to be able to deliver because the uptake has to be so high,’ Ms Ardern said on Monday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is ‘skeptical’ of the coronavirus tracing app
‘When I look at some of the other places where it has been utilized – places like Singapore – the uptake there has been under 20 per cent.
‘My view is that we cannot rely on this and we cannot place all our eggs in one basket.
‘We are working on it but I have to say our big focus has been getting our in-person contact tracing right, because we will all still be relying on that.’
Ms Ardern didn’t give a timeline for the app’s release in New Zealand, saying only it would be available ‘soon’, and with reduced functionality.
Despite being a sceptic, Ms Ardern plans to go ahead with a version of Australia’s COVIDSafe app in New Zealand
‘Don’t expect the first iteration to include things like Bluetooth applications,’ she said.
‘It is not a replacement for human and one-on-one contact tracing between someone who works in our public health units, and someone who has COVID-19.’
New Zealand is shedding its most restrictive lockdown conditions on Monday night, allowing hundreds of thousands of Kiwis to return to work from Tuesday.
New Zealanders are still being asked to work from home if they can, and social distancing measures are still in place.
However, Kiwis who bunkered down in less than ideal living situations for the five weeks of ‘level four’ lockdown are now being allowed to move.
Ms Ardern said that could soon be allowed for hardship cases and families separated by the Tasman.
Ms Ardern with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in February. Ms Ardern said the prospect of a trans-Tasman bubble between both countries remains a goal
The first step towards resuming business as usual on the trans-Tasman border would be to allow movement of Australians to New Zealand if they agree to spend a fortnight in quarantine; the same terms as returning Kiwis.
These terms, which Ms Ardern called a ‘very likely prospect’, could apply to separated families and hardship cases.
‘If we are in a position where we are wanting to open up to those who are living in Australia currently who wish to come into New Zealand, that are willing to quarantine themselves and that is something that we could consider,’ she said.
Ms Ardern said the prospect of a trans-Tasman bubble remained a long-term goal, and would also apply to the Pacific.
‘Our Pacific neighbors in large part have not been affected by COVID-19 and the last thing we would want is to risk that,’ she said.
New Zealand’s efforts to flatten the curve have been very successful, leading to the country relaxing coronavirus restrictions on Monday night