Today marks the day that Malta gets its own contact tracing app. Using your phone’s Bluetooth, it will be able to trace the proximity of someone who tested positive for the virus. The app has been developed by health authorities, the Malta Information Technology Agency and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, and is available to download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Here, we’ll give you a quick rundown about it.
How it works
Once you download and open the app, you’ll be given the choice of either Maltese or English before proceeding. The next page will inform you that no data is collected and that geographical locations are not stored either. Once you’ve got that out of the way, you’ll reach a prompt that will ask you to turn off battery optimisation. This is needed for the tracing to work, and here we’ll dive into the app’s workings.
How it actually works
The phone’s Bluetooth will operate at the lowest possible level to preserve as much battery life and usage as possible. The way it all works is that your phone will be able to trace the proximity of someone else using the app, and whether they have tested positive for COVID or not. If they’ve not tested positive, then nothing will happen. If they have tested positive, however, and your device’s Bluetooth recognises that you’ve spent a certain amount of time in proximity with this other phone.
You’ll then receive a notification informing you to either quarantine or book your COVID-19 test. Always keep in mind that this is a proximity tracing app, and thus does not offer full prevention of contracting the virus, or diagnosis. Also, it is there to support the current tracing systems, and not to replace them.
For more information about COVID, there’s the dedicated 111 helpline, as well as the government website.