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DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has said the scheduled launch of an app alerting the public when they have been in close contact with someone testing positive with Covid-19 will be another important milestone in the fight to tackle the virus in Northern Ireland.

Commenting, Mrs Cameron said:

“Throughout this pandemic digital technology has played a central role in helping the public to access vital services such as testing whilst providing regular and accurate information on the spread of the virus.

The planned launch of the ‘StopCovid NI’ contact tracing app will be another useful tool in the local public health response. Crucially the app will alert users if they are at risk of infection if they been in close contact with another user who has tested positive with Covid-19. If deemed necessary it will also provide advice to self-isolate.

Although we have to be mindful that not everyone has access to, or feels comfortable using, smart phones or other devices, this technology will allow alerts to be delivered more quickly and in some circumstances where traditional means of tracing would simply not be possible. I support the Department’s aim of making the app as simple and user friendly as possible, ensuring it works in tandem with, rather than replaces, other elements of Test, Trace and Protect.

In light of other recent sensationalist and politically-motivated proposals on how we can protect public health on a cross-border basis, this app will also strengthen cooperation between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. This is a constructive and pragmatic approach that stands to benefit everyone in the British Isles.

It is now vital that the app becomes operational as soon as possible. I would encourage people across Northern Ireland to follow the advice of DoH, PHA and Executive and to download this valuable tool when it is available. With your help we have been able to slow down the spread of Covid-19 and it is your cooperation that can help this app to maximise its potential to protect lives.”