Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app to be scrapped this week: Sources

By The Canadian Press

Canada’s COVID Alert app will be discontinued in the coming days, a federal government source tells The Canadian Press.

The app was launched in the summer of 2020 as the pandemic began and was billed as a way to alert people if they’ve been in close contact with someone who’s been infected with COVID-19, without collecting personal data.

The COVID Alert app was designed to use Bluetooth, informing app users when they’ve been in close contact with someone who later tested positive.

At the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an “innovative” solution and encouraged Canadians to download it.

But it requires users to enter a one-time key, given to them when they receive a positive PCR test result, and with many provinces replacing PCR testing with rapid testing, the user keys are not being given out.

covid alert app

A phone showing Canada’s COVID Alert app. The app uses Bluetooth to inform users if they’ve been in proximity with another user who reported a positive COVID-19 case.

Users often slammed COVID Alert app’s functionality 

The app has been criticized as being ineffective and not living up to expectations, and while 6.89 million people had downloaded it as of February 1, only 57,704 user keys have been used.

Health Canada announced in May 2021 that the COVID Alert app sent out 35,000 exposure notifications through April that resulted in the identification of at least 400 COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, there have been an estimated 3.87 million COVID-19 infections in Canada since the pandemic began and more than 41,000 people have died.

The COVID Alert App cost $20 million, with the majority of that — $15.9 million — spent on promotion and advertising, and another $3.5 million on developing and maintaining the app.

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