thierry breton, Source: Hearing of Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton by European Parliament on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Europe’s contact tracing apps intertwined in single framework

Europe’s contact tracing apps intertwined in single framework

Germany, Italy and Ireland’s COVID tracing apps have already been linked together with others soon to follow

In order to help EU member states tackle the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together, the European Commission has set up a single framework that allows for interoperability between the contact tracing apps of different countries. This new “gateway” will allow for governments to act quicker and more efficiently when contact chains must be severed and when dealing with the disease in its entirety.

Doing what Europe does best

After a successful trial period, the first iteration of the new framework was launched earlier this week. The first apps that boast interoperability are Germany’s Corona-Warn App, Ireland’s COVID tracker and Italy’s immuni. Cumulatively, these three apps have been downloaded a total of 30 million times, giving the project solid foundations on which to build upon.

Upon the project’s official inauguration, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Single Market, stated that “Many Member States have launched voluntary contact tracing and warning apps, and the Commission has supported them in making these apps safely interact with each other. Free movement is an integral part of the Single Market – the gateway is facilitating this while helping save lives.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety further added that “Coronavirus tracing and warning apps can effectively complement other measures like increased testing and manual contact tracing. With cases on the rise again, they can play an important role to help us break the transmission chains. When working across borders these apps are even more powerful tools. Our gateway system going live today is an important step in our work, and I would call on citizens to make use of such apps, to help protecting each other.”

The framework is also scheduled for quick and rapid expansion. Some 20 member states have already developed their own version of coronavirus tracking apps which could eventually be included in the single framework. Among the prospective candidates are Czechia's eRouška, Denmark's smitte stop, Latvia's Apturi COVID and Spain's Radar Covid, with the system’s expansion expected to spill over well into November.



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