Canada is ending its COVID Alert app based on the iOS and Android exposure notification API – TechCrunch
The Government of Canada today announced that it is ending use of the app it commissioned based on the COVID-19 Exposure Alert API jointly developed by Google and Apple as a measure to help fight the spread of disease. The system is disabled immediately, according to a government alert, which also advises users to remove the COVID Alert app from their devices.
As to why it is ending the program, the release says it is linked to a significant drop in PCR testing in the country, resulting in very few unique keys being issued to patients for use in the app, so usage has apparently slowed to a trickle.
Canada rolled out the COVID Alert app in July 2020, and Health Canada says it has since been downloaded by 6.9 million people and provided exposure notifications on behalf of 57,000 people whose test is positive and who have entered their one-time key in the application.
The COVID Alert app was developed in part by Shopify engineers, with security review by BlackBerry, in conjunction with provincial and federal government resources.
Meanwhile, in Ontario, the health care system is seeing record demand — driven primarily by the side effects of COVID, including staff disruptions, rather than the COVID cases themselves. Wastewater data (the best source of infection information since the suspension of most large-scale PCR testing programs) from Ontario also indicates an increase in COVID cases in the province over the past two last weeks.