Local MP Darren Chester says social distancing measures could be eased sooner if enough people have the coronavirus tracing app operating on their phones.
Mr Chester is encouraging as many Gippslanders as possible to download the COVIDSafe app to their smart phones to help stop the further spread of the coronavirus.
“The app will help health workers to more quickly identify people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, including people they don’t know, and notify them of their possible exposure,” Mr Chester said.
“If you can more quickly identify the close contacts of patients, we can more quickly stop the virus from further spreading in the community, while also improving the prognosis for patients who are then able to seek treatment sooner.
“The app will help us to protect the most vulnerable people in our community, frontline health workers and those who can’t work from home.
“If health officials believe they can help halt the spread of the virus using technology like this, it will give them confidence to recommend changes to the current social distancing measures.
“This is something simple that we can all do to help stop the spread and beat this virus. It’s the quickest way that governments can safely lift some of the more extreme social distancing rules, some of which are disproportionately impacting regional people.
“We are all in this together, so let’s use every tool available, including technology, to fight this virus and speed up our return to normal life.”
The COVIDSafe app is an important element of one of the three key requirements for easing restrictions: test, trace and respond. The app will also be a tool to aid swift responses to local outbreaks, while also providing confidence that the virus is not silently spreading through communities.
Australian Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said COVIDSafe would be an important tool in streamlining the process of identifying contacts after a person tested positive for coronavirus.
“Finding out quickly means you can quarantine yourself or be treated much faster, protecting your family and friends from possible infection, and slowing the spread of the virus,” Professor Murphy said.
“Without this technology, health officials have to rely on people being able to remember who they have been around, and being able to provide contact details for those people.
“COVIDSafe only keeps contact information for 21 days. This covers the maximum incubation period for the virus and the time it takes for someone to be tested for COVID-19.”
For the latest information on coronavirus, visit www.australia.gov.au