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Swiss Covid-19 contact tracing app losing ground

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The app is meant to complement traditional tracing carried out by the cantons. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The number of active users of the SwissCovid app has been falling steadily since last Wednesday.  

The application was made available to the Swiss public in its final form on June 25 and reached 1.6 million downloads on July 4. It is meant to complement traditional tracing carried out by the cantons. However, the number of active users began dropping at a steady rate last week: from 1,017,504 users on July 8, the app hit a low of 959,815 clients on July 11, according to figures released by the Federal Statistical Office. 

“The number of active SwissCovid apps is measured based on the automatic contacts made by apps with the proximity tracing system to update the configuration data. These automatic contacts take place several times a day and are used to calculate the number of active apps per day. The resulting number corresponds to the number of app users,” says the app monitoring guide.  

The SwissCovid app is the first in Europe to use the application programming interfaces (API) of Google and Apple. These allow devices using Android and iOS operating systems to work together and give users direct control of their own data from their own device. The approach uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology and encryption to establish contact between two smartphones that are within at least 1.5 metres of each other for a period of at least 15 minutes, ensuring both privacy and low power consumption. 

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