Health Minister Greg Hunt says COVIDSafe app has identified more than 200 cases

Minister for Health Greg Hunt. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Minister for Health Greg Hunt. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

The COVIDSafe app labelled a "$2 million failure" by the Opposition has helped authorities identify more than 200 cases, the federal government says.

Health Minister Greg Hunt rejected claims the app had failed, and said it "does what it was intended to do".

"That is to find people who are within proximity of others for a period of 15 minutes, which was the medical advice within a distance of 1.5m," he told Nine's Today Show on Wednesday.

However, no states or territories have reported the tracing app has found any cases not already identified through manual contact tracing.

"The advice we had only yesterday was there have been over 200 cases identified through use of the app," Mr Hunt said.

"Not to have it would be beyond question. To have it, over 200 cases identified is the advice that was provided by the states and territories to the medical expert panel only yesterday.

"It adds to what the manual contact tracing does, which remains fundamental."

On Monday, Labor health spokesman Chris Bowen labelled the app "a $2 million failure".

"It's played no role in effectively finding anybody who's been exposed to COVID19," he told Nine News.

The COVIDSafe app, which has been downloaded by more than six million Australians, was created to aid contract tracing.

The government has said it would be most helpful in outbreaks like the one stemming from Casula's Crossroads Hotel which is now linked to 30 cases.

The app works by making a digital handshake between devices through bluetooth if two people have been in close contact for 15 minutes or more.

But, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the Sydney venue's records of patrons and the public coming forward if they had visited the pub, were the most critical parts of the investigation.

"We continue to incorporate questions around the COVIDSafe app, it hasn't been the major feature," she said.

Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said on Monday the app hadn't helped contract tracers find any additional contacts.

This story COVIDSafe app identified more than 200 cases: Health Minister first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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