The Bluetooth-based technology will begin rolling out on both iOS and Android devices from mid-May.
With most of the world in lockdown, subject to severe stay-at-home orders, many are asking how we can re-emerge without suffering subsequent viral outbreaks. Contact tracing will be a vital technique in stemming the spread of COVID-19 over the next year or two while the world waits for a vaccine.
Contact tracing is basically public health detective work. When a person is confirmed with an infectious disease, it becomes important to identify who they have been in contact with in the time leading up to their diagnosis. This allows those potentially exposed to an infection the chance to be tested and self-isolate. Contact tracing is one of the most effective ways to stem the spread of communicable diseases.
A recent study led by Oxford University researchers, and published in the journal Science, suggested classic contact tracing methods may be too slow to stop the spread of this new coronavirus. The study found digital contact tracing techniques, leaning on the ubiquity of smartphones, may be the best way to slow transmission and allow countries to safely end lockdowns.