The CoronaMelder app and its counterparts in other EU countries are used in approximately 1 in 25 corona cases, a collaboration of European media concludes. These are apps that can be used to notify contacts if someone has corona. Encounters are registered via bluetooth.
The journalists, led by journalism nonprofit The Investigative Desk, concluded that the apps were used 1.1 million times on 25.7 million corona cases. Journalists from the Belgian broadcaster VRT, the French newspaper Le Monde and the German Die Zeit cooperated in the investigation.
The Dutch use the apps slightly more often than average: more than 125,000 positively tested Dutch people gave the app permission to warn others in the past six months. That equates to 12 percent of corona infections. In Denmark the app was used much more often: in more than 27 percent of the cases. In some countries, such as Croatia, Poland and Italy, the apps were rarely used.
11,000 positive tests
The 125,000 Dutch reports resulted in 160,000 requested corona tests. Of these, approximately 11,000 were positive. That amounts to more than 7 percent of the cases. This is comparable to the percentage of people who tested positive that emerged from the source and contact research as ‘close contact’. Of the 11,000 people who tested positive, there were 7,000 who already had complaints, and who might have been tested otherwise.
Many countries also fail to keep track of how many people actively use the app. That does happen in Ireland, Switzerland and Portugal. The share of active users there is between 28 and 58 percent of the number of people who have downloaded the app. The app has been downloaded 4.9 million times in the Netherlands, but it is unknown how many people actually use it.
According to the ministry, the app is becoming more useful now that society is increasingly unlocked. During the lockdown, the usefulness was more limited, because people had few contacts, the ministry said. A spokesperson says that the app is intended as an addition to the regular source and contact research.