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Coronavirus apps to help keep you safe

In an effort to slow the spread, keep us informed and keep us safe from coronavirus, the Australian Government has developed two apps. You can download the apps for free on your smart devices (mainly smart phones or tablets like iPads). We explain the difference between these apps below.

Coronavirus Australia app

The Coronavirus Australia app helps people stay up-to-date with official government information and advice about coronavirus.

You can use the app to:

  • get the latest health advice to help stop the spread and stay healthy
  • get a quick snapshot of the official status of the virus in Australia right now
  • check your symptoms if you’re worried about yourself or someone you know
  • find relevant contact information if you have questions or need support
  • get notifications when urgent information and updates are announced.

COVIDSafe app 

The COVIDSafe app is a ‘contact’ tracing app that was developed to help speed up how the government can contact people exposed to coronavirus. It helps health officials to work out who someone with coronavirus has been in contact with. You don’t have to download the app, it’s voluntary. However, the more Australians who have it, the more effective it will be.

When you download the app, you will need to add your name, mobile number, and postcode and select your age range. You will then get a text message so you can finish installing the app on your smart device. The system will create a reference code just for you.

The COVIDSafe app on your device will recognise the COVIDSafe app on other people’s devices, as long as they both have Bluetooth on. When the app recognises another user, it records:

  • the date and time
  • the distance between the two devices
  • how long the people were in contact with each other
  • the other person’s reference code.

The COVIDSafe app only works if it’s running at all times, especially when you come into contact with other people. This means you need to have it ‘open’ on your phone or tablet, especially when you are around other people. You will get notifications every day to let you know the app is running ok on your phone.

If someone is diagnosed with coronavirus, and they have the COVIDSafe app, state and territory health officials will ask the person if it’s ok for them to access the information that the app on their phone has recorded. If the person says yes, the health officials will check who the person has been in contact with (who also has the COVIDSafe app) and get in touch to let them know they have been close to someone who has the virus.

After the coronavirus pandemic, you can delete the app. All the information the app has gathered will be deleted as well.

COVIDSafe and accessibility

When developing the COVIDSafe app, the Government wanted to make sure as many people in the community as possible could use it. This includes:

  • people who are blind or visually impaired
  • people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The app uses language that is easy to understand. It was also tested to check:

  • colour contrast
  • text size
  • alt text for images
  • that people who use screen readers could easily navigate their way around the app.

If you find any issues with the accessibility of the app, you can contact support@covidsafe.gov.au. Or, you can use the ‘Report an Issue’ option in the app. 

Resources

You can find the original resource on the Coronavirus Australia app on the Department of Health website.

You can find the original resource on the COVIDSafe app on the Department of Health website.

You can also find more information about the COVIDSafe app on the Ideas website. Or you can find Easy Read information about the app on the Council for Intellectual Disability website.

Advocacy tips

  • It’s important for people with intellectual disability to have all the information they need to make a decision about if they would like to use the COVIDSafe app. There is no Easy Read decision-making tool at the moment, however, this is something we are working on. In the meantime, this general decision-making guide from Health Consumers Queensland may be helpful.

  • Important to note – The COVIDSafe app needs to be ‘open’ to work. People with intellectual disability may need help to understand what this means and how to keep it open on their devices.

Date
11 May 2020
State
Applies to all states