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Govt's COVID-19 tracing app "fundamentally flawed"

The Government's COVID-19 tracing app is on the wrong track and fundamentally flawed. 

That's the word according to Sir Ray Avery, Auckland-based pharmaceutical scientist, inventor, author and social entrepreneur, and cofounder of Jupl NZ.

Jupl NZ monitors and tracks the health and wellbeing of at-risk people in New Zealand and Australia. The company offered to customise its COVID-19 tracking app to meet Government requirements, but were declined.

Avery says the app the Government is using is limited and "primitive".

"Not even the Government is claiming this is a personal tracking and tracing app.

"We desperately need to use good science and scalable cloud-based tracking technology to track and trace peoples movements and most importantly track all visitors entering New Zealand when we open our borders," he says.

"The Government app is fundamentally flawed. It requires significant manual input and compliance from users as they log in from one venue to the next. The reality is that they are more likely to be infected from non-traceable interactions at bus stops or a party," Avery explains.

"The front-end Government app data is limited, the back end COVID traceability is primitive and comprises the newly formed Government National Close Contact Service (NCCS), which has 100 full time staff making up to two thousand calls a day trying to track people possibly infected by COVID-19. That's 20 calls a day per operator, and this doesn't stack up against the 500 million allocated for COVID-19 healthcare."

Avery's company Jupl is partnering with US companies to roll out Jupl technologies in the USA, but when Jupl offered to customise its COVID tracking app to meet any specific requirements, the Government was not interested, Avery says.

"The Jupl COVID app can provide personalised breadcrumb track and tracing to within a few metres and can automatically send alerts to the user if they have been in contact with anyone infected by COVID-19," he says.

"Frontline nurses, for example, can track and trace their movements and the timeframe they are exposed to infected patients which will provide valuable insights into the epidemiology of the transmission of COVID-19.

"Accident and emergency medical staff can use the silent Jupl emergency assistance button to ask for help with unruly patients," says Avery.

Jupl is a 100% New Zealand owned company and the Jupl cloud-based server encrypts personal data and has medical grade privacy compliance so personal data is 100% secure, he adds.

"This is a fully integrated automated digital platform and operates without the need for human intervention by third parties."