Govt app helps find a Covid patient: official - RTHK
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Govt app helps find a Covid patient: official

2021-02-26 HKT 18:42
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  • Govt app helps find a Covid patient: official
Health officials say the government's LeaveHomeSafe app has helped identify a Covid-19 carrier among a cluster of cases involving a restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Earlier this month, the Centre for Health Protection said it had made use of the app fewer than 20 times since it was launched last November, and it hadn't led to the discovery of any infections.

But on Friday, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the centre said a notification from the app had prompted at least one person linked to an outbreak at Mr Ming's Chinese Dining to get tested, with the result coming back positive.

"So far, I think from this outbreak, I recall there is one or two who received the app notification and went for testing. I recall there's one who clearly said that. And the other one said that she noted there was a risk, maybe from the media or maybe from the app, we haven't clarified that with her yet," she said.

Chuang said some of those infected in the cluster had provided their contact details, instead of using the app, when they visited the restaurant. But she wasn't sure whether they had been traced using this information as some had already been identified as close contacts.

Meanwhile, Deputy Government Chief Information Officer Tony Wong said the LeaveHomeSafe app has now been downloaded 2.96 million times.

He said over 97 percent of the downloads were from Hong Kong app stores, despite recent reports that many of the downloads were made abroad.

With privacy concerns lingering regarding the app, Wong also reiterated that it is not for contact-tracing.

"I need to clarify one point that this mobile app is an 'exposure notification app', it was never meant to be a contact-tracing tool. We didn't install any tracing components in the app. It's purely a digital tool to assist citizens in recording their visit history of different venues and also provide exposure notification in case he or she had close contact or appeared at the same venue with a confirmed case," he said.

The government recently allowed restaurants to extend their evening dine-in services, and various shuttered businesses to reopen, on the condition that they tell customers to use the app or hand over their personal information to record their visits.