Covid app to be linked with German and Italian versions for easier travel abroad

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Digital Desk staff

Ireland’s Covid tracker app is set to be linked to Germany and Italy’s versions of the contact tracing app in order to allow easier travel in the EU during the pandemic.

The apps will be linked within weeks and will be the first in Europe to use a system to boost travel between EU member states by allowing citizens to know if they have been exposed to the virus abroad, according to the Irish Times.

The initiative is part of efforts to restart free movement across the continent, with other countries likely to join the initiative shortly including Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Latvia and the Netherlands.

“Germany, Ireland, and Italy... they are in the forefront, they’re expected to join by the middle of October,” a senior European Commission official told the Irish Times.

“The gateway is ready... It should make travel easier and safer,” the official said.

The initiative would allow travellers to use their Covid tracker app while visiting other member states taking part, with the linked system allowing for different country’s apps to “talk” to each other and notify a person if they have been in close contact with a positive case of Covid-19 identified on another country’s app.

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In order to be linked up to the cross border system, apps must abide by European data protection laws.

Traffic lights

It comes as Ireland is also likely to adopt proposals from the European Commission for a common approach to travel within the continent which will supersede the country’s current “green list” model.

The proposed traffic light system for EU member states, with colour codes depending on an area's incidence rate of the virus, is likely to favour airport testing over quarantine periods.

Under the system, EU member states or regions will be given a colour as follows:

  • Green for an area where the total number of newly notified Covid-19 cases is less than 25 per 100,000 during a 14-day period and the percentage of positive tests from all COVID-19 tests is less than 3 per cent.
  • Orange for an area where the total number of newly notified cases is less than 50 per 100,000 during a 14-day period but the percentage of positive tests is 3 per cent or more OR the total number of newly notified cases is between 25 and 150 but the percentage of positive tests is less than per cent.
  • Red for an area where the total number of newly notified cases is more than 50 per 100,000 during a 14-day period and the percentage of positive tests is 3 per cent or more OR the total number of newly notified cases is more than 150 per 100,000 people during a 14-day period.
  • Grey if there is insufficient information available to assess the criteria proposed by the Commission or the number of Covid-19 tests carried out per 100,000 people is less than 250.

The Commission has proposed that entry should not be refused to travellers coming from “high-risk” member states, with quarantine periods or Covid-19 testing after arrival implemented instead.

The new system could open up most regions of the continent to travel without quarantine, as testing would be favoured.

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