Estonian COVID contact tracing app HOIA will be deactivated on Sunday | News

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“The HOIA app went live at the start of the pandemic, when there were no vaccines available, but it was extremely necessary to warn people about the virus,” said Kerstin-Gertrud Kärblane, development manager at the Health Council’s Center for Analysis and Development, said according to a press release.

“Now the app has served its purpose, and people are much more aware of what to do to protect themselves,” she continued. “We would like to thank everyone who has used the app and been involved in its development; it has been a great help.”

From May, free PCR tests will only be available for the elderly and for anyone in a risk group. However, for the contact tracing app to work as intended, infected people must indicate that they received a positive PCR test result, which will become much rarer in the future.

According to Kärblane, the responsibility for COVID infections now lies primarily with individuals themselves, adding that people should stay home if they have developed symptoms of a viral illness and notify their close contacts themselves. they were infected with the COVID-19 virus. .

First launched on August 20, 2020, the HOIA app was developed a few months after the pandemic hit Estonia, as part of a cooperative process between no less than 12 companies and the Estonian government.

According to Tanel Tera, e-services manager at the Center for Health and Welfare Information Systems (TEHIK), the HOIA app was a historic cooperative project that resulted in the most downloaded mobile phone app of Estonian history.

“In order to make the development of the HOIA app possible, Google and Apple have added brand new functions to their system,” Tera pointed out. “This mobile phone application was the first to include a system of random codes that are in no way linked to the user’s personal data or location. HOIA is a good example of the state’s ability and the private sector to rapidly develop world-class solutions together.”

Even so, he added, they need to be able to determine when a solution has served its purpose and there’s no real need to maintain it anymore.

Tera also thanked the entire team involved in developing the app.

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