Latvia launching contact tracing app using Apple-Google API

in General Discussion edited May 2020
Latvia's upcoming COVID-19 tracing app will be one of the first to use the Apple-Google contact tracing API, and may also work in tandem with apps produced in other European countries.

Latvia launching Apple-Google based contact tracing app

The app named Apturi Covid -- "Stop COVID" -- will use the new tools that exited beta last week. The update allows public health agencies (PHA) apps to alert users of potential exposure risks to the coronavirus, by determining if they have come within range of a potential virus carrier.

"The developers believe that reliance on this standard will ensure widespread adoption and also compatibility over time with contact tracing apps around the world that are also expected to adopt the same exposure notification framework," the app's developers said in a statement, according to Reuters.

At launch, the app will only work within Latvia, however the country plans to have the app converse with other regional versions, such as apps developed by Germany, Switzerland, and Estonia. This could allow those who travel within the European Union to continually be monitored for contact tracing, even when not in their home country.

The goal is to help limit the spread of COVID-19 when countries begin to ease restrictions of movement. In theory, such apps will assist in maintaining social distancing while people travel, as well as limiting the activity of those who may be carrying the virus.

Other countries have begun developing their own contact tracing apps, but have seen limited success. The Australian government admitted that its Covidsafe app didn't work correctly on the iPhone because it wasn't using Apple's Exposure Notification frameworks. Singapore's "TraceTogether" had also run into similar problems.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 751member
    Way to go. Kudos
  • Reply 2 of 5
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 986member
    Alberta's app uses a similar Bluetooth beacon concept, but on iOS it only works if the app is active at the front, and the phone is awake. So, pretty much useless.

    Hopefully the federal government develops a national app using the Apple/Google API. That would also get by regional apps not being compatible with each other, etc.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 975member
    Yes, Europe has real needs to have apps work across the continent. Well done. 

    I’ve read the Apple-Google materials on their API, and MIT’s PACT protocol to support tracing, the useful efforts seem to be only a small part of the much larger process of contact tracing. 

    Contact tracing is not new, and certainly not just developed for the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing a useful app to support contact tracing will take much effort.

    Johns Hopkins new six hour Coursera course on Contact Tracing nicely illustrates the contact tracing process focused on COVID-19. 
    edited May 2020 chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,651member
    Latvia is a lovely place, and I’m pleased to see that they are taking this pandemic as seriously as most other countries in Europe (sadly not all countries in Europe…). Since the Google end Apple API is just a platform to build an app on, it’ll be interesting to see what their app features and how it works.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    x-aix-ai Posts: 1member
    Whoa there!! This can't be a contact tracing app. The Apple-Google API doesn't allow for contact tracing.

    This is an exposure notification API, which is completely different to contact tracing. Contact tracing is the gold standard. Exposure notification comes a far second place.
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