Endorse COVIDSafe

Join more than 130 major organisations and associations and Australian businesses, and prominent business and community leaders and Australians from all walks of life in signing this open letter endorsing taking up the COVIDSafe app.

21 May 2020: COVIDSafe is successfully used in VIC and NSW to trace the spread.

Image source: https://www.covidsafe.gov.au/

Open letter on the importance
of signing-up to the COVIDSafe app

On 26 April 2020, the Australian government launched the COVIDSafe app to augment frontline efforts for monitoring contact tracing and mapping the spread of SARS-COVID-19.

The Australian government has publicly stated that a 40% take-up of this app, along with more extensive testing and improved local outbreak response, are preconditions for relaxing isolation measures and returning back to our lives.

Until we reach this target, isolation and higher levels of unemployment and underemployment will continue affecting people’s income and overall well-being. Australians’ mental health has overall deteriorated since we went to isolation. Suicide rates in Australia due to the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus are tipped to outstrip deaths from the pandemic by up to 10 times, resulting in a generational mental health crisis.

Almost 2.44 million Australians have installed COVIDSafe within three days of the launch, translating to about 12.4% of smartphone user. This is a very good start, but it is no time for celebration or complacency. We are still far away from the 40% target for the app to be effective. In fact, we believe that 40% is a conservative target, with Singapore admitting the need for minimum 75% and the UK asking for 80%.

Singapore was first to implement Bluetooth technology for contact tracing, achieving a highly admired 12.8% uptake just three days after the launch, even more than we achieved. Then, uptake stagnated to about 22.7% even three weeks after the launch. As a result, Singapore could not monitor contact tracing effectively, and during 21-27 April it saw a new surge of outbreaks with 900 new cases per day. This was partly due to the inability to trace dozens of infected cases back to a source.

If we are to meet the 40% target that would allow us to go back to our lives, we need a second and even bigger uptake wave for the COVIDSafe app. We are deeply concerned that the app will fail to reach this target unless there is a quick and massive uptake.

We believe that a critical question we should ask ourselves is:

Is it worth not downloading the app right now, therefore suffering longer times until we get back to business and life, deteriorating well-being, and risking a second wave?

By signing this open letter, we endorse the voluntary adoption of the COVIDSafe app, because COVIDSafe aligns with our core values, including:

  • Promoting community efforts for wellbeing, safety and mateship.
  • Supporting frontline workers putting themselves in danger to the benefit of others. Right now, these are our healthcare workers and they need our help.
  • Making our working environments safe and supporting physical and mental health.

COVIDSafe downloads

The graph has been updated in light of new information and the PM’s estimates. Read our analysis and assumptions on COVIDSafe downloads and the uptake target.

Endorse COVIDSafe

Initiative by Demetris Christodoulou, Doron Samuell and Robert Slonim.

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