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Contact tracing card on the cards

Contact tracing card on the cards

Posted October 29, 2020

The Ministry of Health has today confirmed that a trial programme for their proposed contact tracing card is now moving into the final ‘on the ground’ and analysis phases.

Opponents of the contract tracing cards trial say this is a step too far and smacks of Big Brother watching. They will want us all to wear a permanent chip next.

The Ministry says it has worked closely in partnership with Te Arawa and the Universities of Waikato and Otago to co-design these phases of the programme. Te Arawa knows the Ngongotahâ community better than anyone and has the skills and experience needed to support a successful community trial.

The programme aims to recruit between 500 and 1,500 members of the Ngongotahâ community, who will be asked to wear the cards as they go about their daily activities and attend community events. Registration will commence on 30 October, and the trial process will finish on 15 November.

The cards use Bluetooth to exchange ‘digital handshakes’ with each other to keep an anonymised record of participants’ close contacts with each other.

The Ministry of Health says the trial will help them understand how well the contact tracing cards perform in a real-world scenario, whether they are compatible with their other contact tracing systems, and if people will accept and use them.

The results of the trial will help inform a decision by Government later this year on whether contact tracing cards should be rolled out more widely to support contact tracing alongside the NZ COVID Tracer app.