CANBERRA – Six million Australians have downloaded a smartphone app that helps health authorities trace coronavirus infections, officials said Sunday.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the COVIDSafe app is playing a strong role in Australia’s response to the pandemic and that several countries have expressed interest in learning from its positive impacts.
If a user is diagnosed, the app works to identify other users who have been in close proximity for 15 minutes or more in the previous three weeks.
The government has said at least 40% of Australia’s 26 million people need to use the app for it to be effective. There are approximately 17 million cellphones in Australia.
The government and states have been easing restrictions on travel and allowed for increased use of restaurants and bars in the past few weeks. Australia has recorded more than 7,100 cases of the coronavirus, including 102 deaths.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— 3 NEW CASES IN CHINA: China reported three new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, two from outside the country and one locally transmitted in the northeastern province of Jilin, which has experienced a minor outbreak now apparently largely contained. No new deaths were reported and 79 people remain in treatment, with another 380 under isolation and monitoring for being suspected cases or having tested positive for COVID-19 without showing any symptoms. China has reported a total of 82,974 cases, including 4,634 deaths.
— SOUTH KOREA RECORDS 25 NEW INFECTIONS: South Korea reported 25 additional cases of the coronavirus over a 24-hour period, amid a continuation of small-scale outbreaks in the country. The country has confirmed a total of 11,190 cases, including 266 deaths. Seventeen of the 25 new patients were locally infected, while the other eight came from overseas, health authorities said. South Korea eased many of its strict social distancing rules in early May before it saw a sudden uptick in the number of cases associated with nightclubs in Seoul’s Itaewon entertainment district. Health authorities had confirmed a total of 225 cases linked to Itaewon cubs as of noon Sunday.
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