Organization Name : Department of Health
Facility Name : COVID Alert SA App FAQs
Applicable For : South African Citizens
Website : https://sacoronavirus.co.za/covidalert/covidalert-faq/
COVID Alert SA App FAQs
COVID Alert SA is South Africa’s free exposure notification app. It lets people know when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Related / Similar Service : SA Corona Virus Contact Information
1. What is contact tracing?
Public health authorities use contact tracing to help control the spread of epidemics and pandemics.
The process involves healthcare workers identifying and interviewing people who have contracted a disease to identify their ‘close contacts’: those they have been in close proximity to in the recent past and therefore possibly infected
Understanding the App
1. How the COVID Alert SA app work, step by step?
** COVID Alert SA uses Bluetooth signals to exchange random codes (numbers that change several times a day) with other COVID Alert SA app users when they’re within two metres of each other, for more than 15 minutes. It’s like the smartphones have given each other a digital handshake.
** This process happens whether app users are near to other app users that they know or strangers, at the shops in a queue, or on public transport.
** The random codes exchanged at the time of the digital handshake are stored in a log on each phone for two weeks.
** The app never exchanges the identity and location of app users. It only senses proximity of smartphone devices to one another and the amount of time they were in contact.
** If a test shows that an app user is confirmed COVID-19 positive, they can choose to anonymously report this information to the app community. That kicks off the Bluetooth-based contact-tracing process.
** Their smartphone uploads the random codes that it has on record from the past two weeks to the Exposure Notification Server.
** The Server sends these random codes to all of other app users.
** Each app user’s device runs through these random codes to check for a match between these codes and the codes it has stored in the past two weeks (every time it has come into contact with another device using the COVID Alert SA app).
** If there is a match, the device notifies the user that they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19, also sharing the date on which they were in contact with someone who has tested positive.
** App users also receive information on what to do next: while on self-quarantine for 10 days, watching for symptoms of COVID-19, keeping others safe and on how to optimise their health and wellbeing.
** This happens in a way that always preserves the privacy of every app user.
For more information, see this Apple and Google document or this Apple and Google video explaining how exposure notifications work
2. How do I benefit from belonging to the COVID Alert SA app community?
By downloading and using the COVID Alert SA app, you become a part of a powerful digital network of app users who choose to work together for the benefit of everyone in the app community while all enjoying complete privacy and anonymity.
As a COVID Alert SA app user you :
** Understand your COVID-19 exposure risk. When app users with whom you have had recent close contact anonymously report that a test has shown they have COVID-19 (to the app), you soon receive an exposure notification alert so that you know you’ve had contact with someone who has COVID-19.
** Are guided as to the next steps you should take. People who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to self-quarantine and; therefore, help to curb the further spread of the virus.
** Keep your loved ones and those in your wider community safe from COVID-19 – particularly those who are considered to be in the high-risk category for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 (such as those who live with chronic illness, who are immunocompromised, cancer survivors and people older than 60).
** Ultimately contribute to avoiding a resurgence of COVID-19 in South Africa, protecting South Africa’s healthcare services and vulnerable people, and ending the pandemic
Downloading the App
1. What do I need to know about downloading the COVID ALERT SA app?
** This app is free.
** Anyone in South Africa who has a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone with Android 6.0 or iOS 13.5 or later versions can use it.
** Downloading the app is quick and easy – it’s under 3 MB in size.
** It doesn’t feature in-app purchases.
** The app is available in English.
** The app is only available for download on mobile smartphones.
** The app can be downloaded and installed by anyone who is in South Africa (you do not need to be a South African citizen) who uses a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone running on Android 6.0 or iOS 13.5 or a later version.
** Children must be aged 13 or older to use the app.
You can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play
2. Does the COVID Alert SA app only work on smartphones? Can feature phones use the COVID Alert SA app?
The COVID Alert SA app can only be downloaded to a smartphone that has Bluetooth and that meets the operating system requirements.
However, the National Department of Health offers a COVIDConnect digital support service that works on any mobile phone (including feature phones) and offers news and information, a risk-assessment tool, COVID-19 test results by WhatsApp or SMS as well as contact tracing and referral to the nearest quarantine or healthcare facility.
** To access COVIDConnect, add ‘0600123456’ to your phone’s contacts and type ‘hello’ on WhatsApp. If you do not have a smartphone, dial *134*832# and follow the prompts.
** To access your lab results on COVIDConnect add ‘0820468553’ to your phonebook and send ‘Results’ on WhatsApp and follow the prompts
Setting Up & Using the App
1. When I am out and about and interacting with others who have the app, is there anything that I need to do for the app to work?
No. As long as the app is running in the background and Bluetooth is turned on, it will function as it should.
2. How does the app affect my phone’s battery use?
The COVID Alert SA app will use a minimal amount of your smartphone battery