Exit “Stop Covid” and place at “Alerte Covid”. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Monday morning on Franceinfo the release of a new app on October 22 to better detect positive cases in coronavirus and their possible contacts. With one stated objective: to stem the spread of the pandemic. According to our information, a new application project was arbitrated at the last defense council held at the Élysée on Wednesday, October 7.
Launched on June 2, the “Stop Covid” application did not achieve consensus within the government. Two reasons: the low number of downloads – the Prime Minister himself admitted on France 2 that he had not downloaded it – and the inefficiency of the tool.
Several changes expected
It is in this context that the Secretary of State for Digital Cédric O sought to revitalize this app. According to several corroborating sources, he wants to focus on people who go to bars and restaurants, lowering the contact time from 15 to 5 minutes. Another big change: he wants the app to be no longer just a tracking tool but also a government information hub on the Covid with the possibility of integrating local alerts. Finally, aware of the failure of the first version, he wants the government to launch a major communication campaign on the app to increase downloads.
Guest of Sonia Mabrouk on September 29, Cédric O had explained that it was necessary to “rework so that people download” the application. And if only 3 million French people have used it in four months, Cédric O believes that “there is room for this kind of application in Europe”.
Also according to our information, Cédric O received very little support from his colleagues in the government on this idea. “He thinks that by changing the name, people will download it more,” one of them quipped. Another detractor recalls the German example: of the 18 million downloads, only 2,000 cases could be really identified thanks to the app. All the detractors are pushing instead to increase the capacities of telephone calls, which they consider more useful and effective.