Glitch in NZ COVID Tracer app preventing Android users from scanning QR codes being fixed by Ministry of Health

Glitch in NZ COVID Tracer app preventing Android users from scanning QR codes being fixed by Ministry of Health
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A glitch preventing Kiwis from scanning QR codes with their NZ COVID Tracer app is currently being fixed following a barrage of criticisms aimed at the app's functionality and purpose.

The bug in the Government's official contact tracing app - which was launched last month to mixed reviews - has been preventing users from properly scanning QR code posters on Android devices. However, the glitch seemingly only occurs when a user has been logged in for more than 30 days, the Ministry of Health explained in a Sunday statement.

If a user's phone is set to automatic updates, the solution to the bug will be applied over the coming few days. However, the issue can also be resolved immediately if a user logs out and logs back in via the 'My Profile' screen. If they have forgotten their password, they can use the password reset function.

If a user downloaded the app 25 days ago or less, the bug won't affect them, the ministry clarified. 

The ministry is urging users experiencing issues with the app to not delete and reinstall, as that action will delete all recorded locations from the app's history. 

The NZ COVID Tracer app was designed to assist health officials with tracing possible contacts of COVID-19 cases. The country has seen a small number of new positive cases over the past week, all of which were New Zealanders who have returned from overseas.

App users can document their location history by scanning the QR code posters displayed at different businesses. In the event of a COVID-19 case attending a specific event, for example, health authorities can then quickly identify and trace possible contacts. All data recorded on the app is safely secured on the user's phone and is automatically deleted after 31 days. 

NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 573,000 registrations.

"It's great news that more and more businesses and organisations are displaying their official QR codes. The number of posters created by businesses is now 63,160," the ministry said in Sunday's statement. There have been 1,146,569 poster scans to date.

Following the app's launch in May, the Opposition's spokesperson for health Michael Woodhouse labelled the technology as "pointless", claiming it didn't fulfil its intended purpose. 

"The Prime Minister teased the contact tracing app as an alternative to giving your details to a business, but the Ministry of Health has admitted it is not a substitute for signing a contact tracing register at a restaurant," Woodhouse said. 

The app has also been met with a number of complaints since its release, with some New Zealanders reporting faulty QR codes and bugs in the software. Some lamented difficulties with scanning the posters, while others reported issues with registration.