Although it’s likely that we won’t be able to entirely put social distancing behind us anytime soon, there’s a strong likelihood that restrictions can be eased in the coming months.
In order for restrictions to be eased, however, there are a number of strategies involving tracking and tracing cases of COVID-19, that may be implemented to allow for greater public movement.
Mamamia’s Claire Murphy answers all of your COVID-19 questions. Post continues below.
The Federal Government believes that restrictions could be reduced in the next few months if there’s more testing implemented and greater surveillance of those diagnosed with the virus.
According to the ABC, the Morrison Government is currently developing a smartphone app, which would allow authorities to trace contact between people who test positive for the coronavirus and people who they may have had contact with.
By having much faster ability to trace cases, authorities would have a greater ability to stop the spread of new infections faster.
The app, which would not be mandatory for Australians to sign up for, will reportedly plot anyone who was in close proximity with someone for 15 minutes or more who tested positive for COVID-19.
The ABC reports that the app, which may be ready in a fortnight, would be effective in Australia if at least 40 per cent of all Australians voluntarily agreed to be monitored.
Are similar apps being used overseas?
At the moment, a similar app, called TraceTogether, is being used to track and trace cases of coronavirus in Singapore.
Although the app was introduced on March 20, only 20 per cent of Singapore’s citizens have since agreed to share their movements with the Government.
The app works by using bluetooth technology to record and detect users of the app who are in close proximity for 30 minutes.
Although this is recorded in the user’s phone, users will only be asked to share these records with the Singapore government as part of contact tracing investigations.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy confirmed that Australia could follow Singapore’s lead.
“We’re very keen to use it and use it perhaps even more extensively than Singapore,” Dr Murphy said, according to news.com.au.
“Obviously there’s a conversation to be had with the community on the acceptability of it,” he added.
“But we think that the idea of the app is a really excellent one if you’ve programmed it properly, and got the right community buy-in, so we’re actively looking at that.”