In a bid to limit the number of Covid-19 infections, Northern Ireland is set to launch a new version of StopCOVID NI app by the end of September.
The new version will help schools, colleges, and universities to provide additional protection to their students and staff.
The Department of Health has engaged with the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Information Commissioner’s Office throughout the development of this version of the app.
“The design will include a tailored on-boarding process, age appropriate information and encouragement throughout all stages to speak to a parent or guardian,” the government has said.
“Children will be able to use the app in a way that ensures anonymity and allows them to play their part in preventing the onward spread of Covid-19.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “We can all see the level of Covid-19 infection is increasing in Northern Ireland. The app, along with our other Public Health services, is a critical part of our response to control the recent rise in cases.
“The app is helping to alert people to the risks, we need people in Northern Ireland to listen to the advice and take action. It is only through working together that we can avoid the toll on families and the potential for further restrictions.”
Yiasouma, the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) has praised the work undertaken in consulting with a range of young people, aged 11-17, from diverse backgrounds.
She said: “This is an excellent piece of work undertaken within a short time and provides a clear framework for next steps. The young people have said that there must be clear messages on the purpose of the app, data collection and tracking.”
The number of people downloading the app is continuing to grow steadily, with over 350,000 users. The number of people receiving alerts that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive is also increasing recently.
Over 1,000 people have been alerted that they are at risk, with the potential for this to have broken transmission chains involving multiples of this number, and avoid outbreaks.