The Queensland government is rolling out a new coronavirus app to make it easier for the state’s hospitality sector to keep track of their customers for contact tracing.
- Check In Qld app users will be able to scan a QR code at participating venues
- The app will remember their details so they don’t need to keep filling out forms
- The information could be used for contract tracing and will be deleted after 56 days
The Check In Qld app was launched on Sunday by the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Yvette D’Ath, at a pub south of Brisbane.
“This is going to make contact tracing quicker and easier for Queensland Health, which means if we were to get local transmission of COVID in our community we can identify it, we can trace it and contain COVID-19,” said Ms D’Ath.
Users will be able to sign in at certain venues by scanning a QR code — but only at places that are participating in the program.
Participation is not mandatory, and it has only been tested in the hospitality industry, but other businesses can use it, too.
“The app will contain [users’] contact details so they will not have to constantly keep putting their contact details in every time they go to a venue,” Ms D’Ath said.
Until now, the state’s contact tracers have been relying on a patchwork of tools used venues to comply with COVID-19 regulations to keep an electronic record of their customers.
Doug Meagher, manager of the Orion Hotel in Springfield, where the new app was launched, said the old method was convoluted and onerous.
“We had Excel spreadsheets that we then had to electronically send them to Queensland Health,” said Mr Meagher said.
“We had to retain the data for 28 to 56 days, we then had QR codes where you were sent different codes … it was onerous.”
Information deleted after 56 days
New South Wales, Victoria and the Australia Capital Territory launched similar apps in the latter half of 2020.
Ms D’Ath said the Queensland government wanted to assess what was already available and working before committing to its own app.
Queensland based its app on the ACT model, Check In CBR, which launched in September.
Testing and trials of Queensland’s Check In app began in January at selected venues from Cairns to Ipswich.
More than 200 businesses took part in the trial and are now using the new app, the government said.
Ms D’Ath said Queenslanders should have confidence their data will be secure.
“We are collecting the least amount of information, and only the information we need in relation to contact tracing,” the minister said.
Information gathered on the app will be only used by authorised health officials and will be deleted after 56 days.
“Ours only collects the information that is absolutely essential, and of course we’re only keeping it for 30 to 56 days,” Ms D’Ath said.
No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Queensland on Sunday, though there are 11 active cases in the state.
More than 5,200 tests had been conducted in the past 24 hours, according to Queensland Health.
Vaccinations started rolling out last week on the Gold Coast, and so far around 2,030 Queenslanders have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
In coming days, more locations will be added to the rollout.
“We have our other three hubs going online this week. The RBWH, the Townsville University Hospital and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital,” Ms D’Ath said.