Coronavirus: Dr Bloomfield's two-minute guide to the NZ COVID Tracer app

This article, originally published on Thursday, August 6, has been republished on Wednesday, August 12 in light of New Zealand's four new cases of community transmission. All New Zealanders have been urged by the Ministry of Health to download the NZ COVID Tracer app to aid contact tracing efforts.

New Zealand's much-loved Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, has shared his two-minute guide to the Government's official contact tracing app.

In a video posted to the Ministry of Health's Facebook on Wednesday, August 5, Dr Bloomfield - a key figure in New Zealand's COVID-19 response - gave a brief overview of the app and summarised why it's important for Kiwis to register.

"It's going to be a really important tool in helping us do rapid contact tracing, should we need to," he said. 

"The key point of this is that it's quite hard to remember what you were doing even yesterday, let alone a couple of weeks ago. If we need to find out from you where you've been so we can trace possible contacts, it's really helpful if we've got a record of where you have been."

The NZ COVID Tracer app, launched in May, allows Kiwis to record a 'digital diary' of their movements and whereabouts. The data enables health officials to contact trace quickly and efficiently, in the event of a future outbreak in the community.

Businesses nationwide can display a QR code poster - emblazoned with the Ministry of Health logo and the 'Unite Against COVID-19' slogan - for customers and visitors to scan with the app on arrival. The app then compiles a record of the user's location history, which can be shared with the Ministry of Health or kept private at the user's discretion.

The only data that is automatically accessible and stored by the ministry is the user's registration information, allowing health officials to get in touch with possible contacts "rapidly" should there be cases within the community.

The record is deleted off the phone after 30 days.

The app also has a recently-released function allowing registered Kiwis to input data manually, in case a business or location isn't equipped with a QR code. This ensures users have a "really complete record" of their movements over the last 30 days, Dr Bloomfield said.

The video has attracted responses from Dr Bloomfield's legion of fans, with one commenting: "I haven't bothered with the app as yet... but, if Lord Bloomfield wants me to use it, I'll use it."

"If Ashley can't get us to use it, no one can," said another.

Speaking to The AM Show last week, Dr Bloomfield said health officials are operating on a "not if, but when" basis regarding community transmission. He also outlined the key protocols that will guide New Zealand's COVID-19 response "when" the virus has a resurgence within the community.

As of Tuesday, August 11, four cases of community transmission have been detected in South Auckland. Auckland will enter Alert Level 3 as of midday on Wednesday, August 12. The rest of New Zealand will follow Alert Level 2 protocol.