Canada's 'COVID Alert' App Using Apple's Exposure Notification API Now Available

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"These additional measures will help reduce close contact between individuals in these settings, and support case and contact tracing, thereby limiting the spread of COVID-19", said Heath Minister Christine Elliott, in a prepared statement.

Once users download the app, all they have to do is select their province to begin.

The product says no personal data will be collected. At the current time, health authorities in Ontario are distributing one-time keys to people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus, and other territories and provinces will be "coming on board soon".

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"Built with a privacy-first approach, COVID Alert is a safe and easy-to-use tool that Ontarians can download to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community from COVID-19", said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

COVID Alert uses Bluetooth technology to register when devices with the app may come into proximity with one another, and works in the background of users' phones. The more people who use it, the better it can trace, and therefore slow, the spread of the virus.

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After being delayed from its initial roll out at the beginning of July, the app is now available, on Android devices and iPhones, and has been created to interact with other similar apps from outside Ontario as they become available.

"No one will know who you are or where you've been", the federal government said in a video.

"I want to be clear - this app isn't mandatory".

Officials say the more people who download the app, the more effective it will be and stressed that it is a notification app, not a contact-tracing app.

The app was originally developed by the Government of Ontario and the federal Canadian Digital Service has worked with Shopify and Blackberry on the new software, which Apple and Google have teamed up to offer. The app then tells them what course of action to take.

Several U.S. states are working on apps that use the API, including Alabama, North Dakota, and SC, but no contact tracing apps that take advantage of the tool have been released in the United States to date.

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