July 8, 2020 / 8:03 AM / a month ago

Austria invites suggestions to improve coronavirus track and trace app

VIENNA, July 8 (Reuters) - Austria has launched a website explaining its stopp-corona mobile phone track and trace app and inviting suggestions in a bid to boost trust and convince more people to use it.

Countries around the world are racing to develop apps to help to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Austria was one of the first in Europe.

Politicians, public health workers, religious communities and those worried about data privacy will make the app more transparent and develop it further, the new website, stopp-corona.at, says.

Participants and supporters will decide on the app’s development and anyone can make suggestions, it says.

“The set-up of this platform is another important step to establish the use of the stopp-corona app in public,” Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said.

Developed by the Red Cross, the app is has a decentralised structure to alleviate privacy concerns, holding the person’s data only on his or her mobile phone.

If a person contracts the disease, everyone he or she has met in the previous two days are informed automatically and anonymously. So far, more than 600,000 users in a population of 8.75 million have downloaded the app, according to the Red Cross.

Austria has seen an increase in new infections since restrictions were lifted. The country has reported a relatively low 18,418 infections and 706 deaths.

Austria is issuing travel warnings for Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova because of increasing coronavirus cases in those countries, the government said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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