The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology in Rotorua as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing.
The University of Otago and Nelson Marlborough district health board (DHB) ran a government-funded trial of the CovidCard during lockdown, which found the CovidCard works under controlled conditions.
A further trial will be run in Rotorua region, which will involve between 250 and 300 people. It will help us understand how the CovidCard works in a real-world scenario, if it works with our existing contact tracing systems and whether New Zealanders will use it.
The Government will also consider whether the CovidCard meets high security and privacy standards, and if it can be used by a wide range of people.
Digital solutions help make contact tracing more effective
Contact tracing is one of the best ways we have to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand, and digital solutions can help make this faster and more effective.
No digital solution has been proven to ‘solve’ contact tracing, so the Government is exploring all available options.
It is continuing to improve the NZ COVID Tracer app and exploring how it could use Bluetooth technology to increase its effectiveness. It is also investigating the proposed CovidCard.
The CovidCard is designed to be worn using a lanyard and record when it comes into ‘close contact’ with another card (within 2 metres for 15 minutes), with this information only held for 21 days.
With consent, this information would be given to contact tracers if a cardholder tests positive for COVID-19. CovidCards would be identified by serial numbers and would not store personal details. Cardholder contact details would be stored in a separate database.