Warnings Kiwis aren't using COVID Tracer app enough as scans drop by a third

As the COVID pandemic grows at pace overseas, there are concerns that Kiwis aren't using the Tracer app enough to help prevent an outbreak here.

Poster scans have dropped by a third over the Christmas break.

"I rarely use it, sorry, so guilty", one app user told Newshub.

"I haven't used it since the 23rd of December," admitted another.

So are we doing enough to prevent a potential outbreak? The COVID-19 Response Minister says no.

"I would like to see New Zealanders using the QR code system, turning on their Bluetooth contact tracing functionality so that we can stamp out any cases that may get into the community, should that happen," said Chris Hipkins.

Over the past two weeks we've totted up five million scans, which sounds like a lot. But with 2.4 million users, that's on average just once a week each and it's not enough.

"This may be the most dangerous period for New Zealand while we're waiting for vaccines to arrive and while we're waiting for them to make an impact on the pandemic globally," says Otago University, Wellington epidemiologist Michael Baker.

He says with overseas cases raging out of control, there's no room for complacency here.

"The cliché of course is the virus doesn't take a holiday. It's just as risky as ever of this virus being imported and in fact the risk is increased with this new more infectious variant," says Prof Baker.

"My message to New Zealand is, let's be a country that plans as well as a country that responds," adds Hipkins.

And if you're finding it a chore to open up the app every time, there's a new iPhone double-tap hack to make it even easier, as Michelle Dickinson explains.