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Apple to offer contact tracing without Covid-19 app

Apple to offer contact tracing without Covid-19 app

Exposure Notifications Express (ENE) is available with iOS 13.7 update

iPhone users can carry out contact-tracing without downloading an official Covid-19 app.

The Exposure Notifications Express (ENE) service, available with the Apple iOS 13.7 update, sends an alert if one of the users becomes infected. Users can opt into ENE via a new Exposure Notifications option within the iPhone’s main Settings menu.

The local public health authority will determine what the notification says.

The launch of ENE may encourage more countries to adopt contact tracing as it can save development time and maintenance costs.

Google is expected to launch a parallel scheme of its own later this month for Android.
It will go by the same name, but Google has opted to create a basic coronavirus tracing app instead.

“Exposure Notifications Express provides another option for health authorities to supplement their existing contact-tracing operations with technology, without compromising on the project’s core tenets of user privacy and security,” Apple and Google said in a joint statement.

More than 20 countries and regions have released apps based on Apple and Google’s contact-tracing framework so far. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the GCC on this list.

Read: Phi Trends: How Covid-19 has accelerated healthtech

This is how contact tracing technology works:

Once enabled, your phone will connect to nearby phones through Bluetooth—anyone with whom you’ve been in contact with for at least five minutes—and securely download those devices’ data to your phone.

If you are diagnosed with Covid-19, you log in your diagnosis to the app. The phone then uploads the last two weeks’ worth of beacon data and asks for your permission to anonymously share your results and then notify others you have come close to.

Government authorities do not get to see which or how many users have received an alert. Likewise, users do not get to see who it was that caused them to be served a notification. Users can also opt out of the service via a toggle in their settings menu.

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