More than 40 codes given out to trace virus chains on new app

The codes are given to patients who test positive for Covid-19, and who are also using the new Koronavilkku app. The app then alerts people they've been in close contact with.

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File picture of Koronavilkku app / Credit: News Now Finland

Healthcare officials have given out more than 40 codes to people using the Koronavilkku app, and who tested positive for Covid-19.

The app was launched at the beginning of September and has so far been downloaded by the equivalent of a third of the population of Finland. Koronavilkku – which means Corona Flash in English – is completely anonymous and entirely voluntary to use, and can help public health officials know how coronavirus is spreading around the country. However, it’s primary function is to let users know if they’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19.

When an app user gets a positive test they get a code to put into their phones which then starts alerting other people they’ve been in recent close proximity with.

“According to current knowledge, a person with coronavirus is at their most contagious at the beginning of a symptomatic disease. This has been taken into account in the application so that the healthcare professional stores the information about the date of onset of symptoms in connection with the unlock code” explains Aleksi Yrttiaho, Director of Information Management at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL.

“It doesn’t give us information on how many people the application is showing an exposure notification for. The information about the encounters is only on the user’s phone” he says.

There are currently 700 healthcare professionals who are authorised to give the special codes to people who get coronavirus and are using the Koronavilkku app.

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