‘The Netherlands is looking into introducing two apps as a key part of controlling the spread of coronavirus, prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge told a press conference on Tuesday evening.
‘Experts tell us that identifying sources and tracing contacts will be crucial for relaxing the rules, without over-taxing hospitals,’ Rutte said. ‘But it is still early days and privacy is key,’ the prime minister said. The apps, one of which would alert people via bluetooth if they had been in contact with someone who had coronavirus, and a second which would keep potential patients in touch with doctors, are currently being further researched, Rutte said.
The apps will form part of the more intensive testing strategy which is currently being introduced. They would, in effect, take over some of the work of local health boards which do not have the capacity to trace all potential coronavirus contacts. Compulsory Asked if people would be forced to install the apps on their phones, health minister De Jonge said it would be important that as many people as possible used them.
‘There is no point in carrying out all the testing if you don’t do anything with the results,’ he said. ‘We are looking at whether you can require everyone to do it.’ Contact tracing is still being done in the north of the country where there are relatively few coronavirus cases, the minister said.’
Read more: Dutch see apps as key to relaxing lockdown, tracing corona suspects