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COVID Alert app a help even if it works only on newer phones: Tam

Last Updated Aug 4, 2020 at 11:18 am PDT

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, hold a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

The federal COVID Alert app only works on newer smartphones, but Dr. Theresa Tam says it's one of many tools for virus

The app works only on phones released in the last five years or so because it needs a relatively recent operating system

OTTAWA — Answering criticism that the federal “COVID Alert” app only works on newer smartphones, Dr. Theresa Tam says it’s one of many tools in fighting the novel coronavirus.

The app released last week is meant to tell users if their phones have recently been close to a phone registered to someone who volunteers that they’ve tested positive for COVID-19.

But it works only on phones released in the last five years or so because it needs a relatively recent operating system.

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Critics say that will leave out poorer and older Canadians, who are more likely to use older devices and suffer worse effects from the virus.

The government said Monday that 1.1 million people had downloaded the app.

Tam says we need to use every tool we have to fight the pandemic, even if they aren’t perfect.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press