Timeline of contact tracing in the COVID-19 pandemic

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This is a timeline of contact tracing in the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly focusing on smartphone application software launches.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

  • What are some important events during the COVID-19 pandemic described on the timeline as a context?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Background".
  • What are some of the numerous contact tracing applications for mobile phone being launched during the pandemic?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Mobile app launch"
    • You will mostly see applications launched by official entities.
  • What are some userbase figures illustrating penetration of contact tracing apps among the public?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Userbase".
  • What are some illustrative educational efforts launched during the pandemic with the purpose to train people on contact tracing?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Education".
    • You will see a number of courses, illustrating the trend followed by multiple universities.
  • What are some of the several protocols launched to facilitate digital contact tracing during the pandemic?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Protocol introduction".
    • You will see a number of releases, including Exposure notification by Google and Apple Inc.
  • What are some of the numerous notable cases involving contact tracing and the issue of digital privacy?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "digital privacy".
    • You will see a number of events describing cases of digital privacy violation, most often by official entities.
  • What are some examples of performance of contact tracing programs conducted by national governments?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Performance".
    • You will see some successful cases of contact tracing programs (mostly countries in East Asia) as well as some failing to reach expected results (e.g. United States).
  • Other events are described under the following types: "Database launch", "Manual contact tracing", "Notable case", "Organization", "Partnership", "Program shutdown", "Protocol integration", and "Tool launch".

Big picture

Time period Development summary
December 2019 – January 30, 2020 Initial period starting with the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Interest in contact tracing begins already in late 2019.
January 30, 2020 – December 2020 Period starting with the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Right away, contact tracing for COVID-19 cases starts beig mandated in countries all over the world. Digital contact tracing via smartphone apps is established as a new public-health intervention.
December 2020 onwards Period starting with the rollout of several vaccines in developed countries. By 2021, contact tracing is found to be effective in some countries like South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and Taiwan[1], but not very effective in many countries, often in the West.[2]

Visual data

Google Trends

The comparative chart below shows Google Trends data for Contact tracing (Topic) and Contact tracing (Search term), from January 2004 to March 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[3]

Contact tracing gt.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for Contact tracing, from 1900 to 2019.[4]

Contact tracing ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article Contact tracing on desktop, mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015; to December 2020. An explosive growth of interest can be seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.[5]

Contact tracing wv.jpeg

Full timeline

Year Month and date (approximately) Event type Details Location
2019 December Background Contact tracing and medical surveillance begins in Wuhan, after a number of "pneumonia cases" related to a local seafood market is reported.[6] China
2020 January 23 Background The Government of China imposes a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei in an effort to quarantine the center of the outbreak of COVID-19.[7] China
2020 January 23 Background The first COVID-19 case in Vietnam is diagnosed.[8] Very early, realizing that an effective tracing system is the most critical component of the pandemic response, this country would immediately develop and implement a thorough, accurate and centralized contact tracing system consisting in three levels, with all of those affected people being tested immediately.[9][10] Vietnam
2020 January 30 Background The World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.[11][12]
2020 February 3 Mobile app launch Lithuanian based company Bitsens launches a coronavirus app, even when the virus has not reached Lithuania yet.[13] Lithuania
2020 February 11 Mobile app launch China becomes the first country to try a contact tracing app as a means of curbing the spread of COVID-19, after the Chinese Government launches coronavirus close contact detector app “health code” nationwide, as a means of controlling people’s movements. The app, developed by Alibaba Group and Tencent, allows users to access through Alipay or WeChat and input their phone number, full name and ID number.[14][15] China
2020 February Organization PathCheck is founded at MIT as a volunteer-led non profit organization[16][17] that develops COVID-19 apps for digital contact tracing.[18] Their original technology is based on the MIT Private Kit.[19][20] United States
2020 February Policy Egypt mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Egypt
2020 February Policy Nigeria mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Nigeria
2020 February Policy Saudi Arabia mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Saudi Arabia
2020 March 9 Digital privacy Google removes Iran's official COVID-19 detection app from Play Store after several users accuse the Iranian government of using the app to collect phone numbers and real-time geo-location data.[22][23] Iran
2020 March 9 Mobile app launch The Colombian president announces the launch of an application for mobile devices that would help centralize information related to the spread, prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in the country.[24] Colombia
2020 March 11 Background The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic.[25]
2020 March 12 Program shutdown Public Health England stops performing a contact tracing program, as widespread infections overwhelm capacity of contact tracers, and with the program being able to handle up to 50 people per week.[26][27] United Kingdom (England)
2020 March Policy Russia mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Russia
2020 March Policy South Africa mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] South Africa
2020 March Policy Argentina mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Argentina
2020 March Policy Chile mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Chile
2020 March 17 Protocol introduction The Temporary Contact Numbers Protocol (TCN Protocol) is introduced.[28]
2020 March 20 Mobile app launch Singapore launches TraceTogether, an application aimed at working by exchanging short distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other participating users in close proximity of 2 meters. After giving consent during the set-up of the app, users need to turn on their Bluetooth, as well as enable push notifications and location permissions. The app is developed by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and the health ministry.[29][30] Singapore
2020 March 20 Mobile app launch Taiwan rolls out a mobile phone-based “electronic fence” that uses location-tracking to ensure people who are quarantined stay in their homes. The system monitors phone signals to alert local officials if those in home quarantine move away from their address or turn off their phones.[31] Taiwan
2020 March 20 Mobile app launch Sri Lanka launches MyHealth Mobile App, which requires users to record their location at the time of using the application. The app is programmed to disclose the stores location history information with the authorities to protect other users in case a user is infected.[32] Sri Lanka
2020 March 20 Literature Retrace Publishing releases Contact Tracing Logbook: Keep Track of Personal Interactions During Epidemic or Pandemic.[33]
2020 March 24 Protocol introduction BlueTrace is introduced as an open-source application protocol that facilitates digital contact tracing of users.[34]
2020 March 25 Mobile app launch Stopp Corona is launched in Austria by the Austrian Red Cross, in cooperation with other organizations. The app is aimed at tracing contacts for preventing the spread COVID-19 infections.[25][35][36] Austria
2020 April 1 Protocol introduction The Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing protocol is introduced to facilitate digital contact tracing of infected participants.[37][38][39][40]
2020 April 2 Mobile app launch The Government of India launches Aarogya Setu, an app aimed at enabling people to assess themselves the risk of their catching COVID-19 infection. It is available in 11 languages.[41] India
2020 April 3 Mobile app launch The Government of Peru announces launch of app that would allow users share their location in the event that they have tested positive for COVID-19.[42] Peru
2020 April 4 Protocol introduction The Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing is introduced as an open protocol developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate digital contact tracing of infected participants.[43][44]
2020 April 8 Mobile app launch Egypt launches a mobile application aimed at tracking both new COVID-19 cases and those in contact with patients.[45][46] Egypt
2020 April 9 Mobile app launch The Afghan Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Telecommunications launches COVID-19 tracing app corona.asan.gov.af, which provides health advice in English, Dari, and Pashto.[47][48][49] Afghanistan
2020 April 10 Technology introduction Google and Apple announce a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies conduct contact tracing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, with user privacy and security core to the design.[50]
2020 April 11 Technology introduction Wristbands are launched in South Korea for those breaking quarantine, after it is found that people were leaving their phones at home to trick government tracking apps.[51] South Korea
2020 April 14 Mobile app launch COVID-19 contact tracing app Corowarner is launched in Turkey, programmed to alert users instantly and anonymously if they had close contact with an individual in a market, pharmacy or bus who tested positive for the virus.[52] Turkey
2020 April Policy Turkey mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Turkey
2020 April Policy Thailand mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Thailand
2020 April 16 Mobile app launch IoT and connectivity network provider Nodle.io announces the launch of Coalition, a free contact tracing app that utilizes secure Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and cryptography to protect a user’s identity by generating random anonymous IDs.[53] United States
2020 April 16 Protocol introduction Nodle.io releases the Whisper Tracing Protocol white paper, which introduces a protocol intended to be a privacy first digital contact tracing tool for COVID-19.[54][55]
2020 April 17 Mobile app launch The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission launches contact tracing app Gerak Malaysia, which is designed "to help the authorities in tracing and analyzing users’ movement nationwide to contain the spread of the pandemic".[56] Malaysia
2020 April 21 Digital privacy An Australian Government Services minister announces laws to be introduced in the country with the purpose to strenghten user privacy, as fears for the latter persist among citizens.[57] Australia
2020 April 24 Mobile app launch ProteGO launches in Poland, becoming one of EU’s first official COVID-19 tracking applications. This version requires users to enter their data themselves for the purposes of health self-monitoring.[58] Poland
2020 April 26 Mobile app launch The Australian government launches a coronavirus tracing app, which uses Bluetooth signals to log when people have been close to one another. The app is based on Singapore’s TraceTogether software.[59][60] Australia
2020 April 27 Mobile app launch Mobile application "Act at Home" is launched in Ukraine. It is designed to maintain contact with the person and control the observance of obligatory self-isolation during quarantine.[61] Ukraine
2020 April 27 Performance A study concludes that isolation and contact tracing helped control the spread of COVID-19 in Shenzhen, China.[62][63] China
2020 April Background By this time, about half of the world's population is under lockdown, with more than 3.9 billion people in more than 90 countries or territories having been asked or ordered to stay at home by their governments.[64] Worldwide
2020 May 1 Policy India’s home affairs ministry states that all private and public sector employees who go to their physical workplaces should download the Aarogya Setu contact tracing app.[65] India
2020 May 10 Notable case Zambian health minister Chitalu Chilufya praises sex workers in Zambia for helping to trace people who have contracted COVID-19 after a surge in new infections at the border town of Nakonde. Chilufya states "sex workers have been very co-operative and they are giving us all the leads we want."[66] Zambia
2020 May 11 Literature Martin Anderson publishes Contact Tracing : Tracking Clinician Resource.[67]
2020 May 12 Mobile app launch Salesforce launches coronavirus contact tracing platform for tracking exposure to COVID-19. It is available in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Louisiana, California, and New York City.[68] United States
2020 May 14 Mobile app launch The Indian technology ministry launches contact-tracing app for JioPhones.[69] India
2020 May 14 Mobile app launch Thailand's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announces tracing application Thai Chana (Thai Victory), aimed at being introduced to business operators.[70] Thailand
2020 May Policy France mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] France
2020 May 19 Mobile app launch The E7mi application is launched in Tunisia. The app identifies and alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone having reported infection.[71] Tunisia
2020 May 19 Mobile app launch The Ministry of Health of New Zealand releases the NZ COVID Tracer app, with the purpose to support contact tracing in the country. The software emphasizes privacy and data security, being programmed to store information in the user phone and delete it after 31 days.[72] NZ COVID Tracer[73] New Zealand
2020 May 19 Policy Taiwan enforces policy mandating all people entering public buildings to leave their contact information or to share their whereabouts via text message.[74] Taiwan
2020 May 20 Protocol introduction The Exposure Notification (GAEN) system, originally known as the Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing Project,[75] is introduced as a framework and protocol specification developed by Apple Inc. and Google to facilitate digital contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.[76][77][78][79] The application programming interface is released in at least 22 countries around the world and is aimed to be used by nations' health authorities to build their own apps.[80] Worldwide
2020 May 26 Digital privacy Amnesty International uncovers "serious security vulnerabilities" in Qatari mandatory contact tracing app EHTERAZ, which is found to lack privacy safeguards and allows sensitive personal information to be uploaded to a central database so the authorities can enable real-time location tracking of users at any time.[81] Qatar
2020 May 28 Organization NHS Test and Trace is formed in England as a government-funded service with the purpose to track and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is run by the National Institute for Health Protection.[82][83] United Kingdom (England)
2020 May 29 Education The University of Washington’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice launches a free, online course to provide training for contact tracers.[84] United States
2020 May 28 Mobile app launch Latvia launches Apturi Covid, becoming the first country to launch a contact tracing app using the newly-available exposure notification APIs by Apple and Google. The voluntary, decentralized, and fully GDPR-compliant app uses Bluetooth technology to identify other nearby devices that also have the app installed. The app notifies users if they have been in the proximity of 2 meters to an individual for more than 15 minutes who has tested positive for COVID-19. [85][86] Latvia
2020 May Digital privacy British company Serco accidentally shares the personal email addresses of nearly 300 trainee COVID-19 contact tracers. The company hires, trains and operates about 15,000 contact tracers who do not have clinical training.[87] United Kingdom
2020 June 1 Mobile app launch Immuni is launched in Italy as the official COVID-19 contact-tracing app, built on the framework developed by Apple and Google to track infections.[88][89][90] Italy
2020 June 5 Mobile app launch The Moroccan Ministry of Health announces launch of 'WIQAYTNA' an app for COVID-19 contact tracing based on bluetooth technology, and aimed to notify users in case they come into prolonged contact with an individual who has tested positive.[91] Morocco
2020 June 4 Database launch The Argentine Government creates a COVID-19 database with the purpose to process the data generated through the official contact tracing app, facilitating greater state control of the pandemic.[92] Argentina
2020 June 4 Publication The World Health Organization publishes its Digital tools for COVID-19 contact tracing.[93]
2020 June 4 Mobile app launch COVID-19 contact tracing app Corona Tracer BD is launched in Bangladesh.[94] Bangladesh
2020 June 5 Mobile app launch The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation reveals having developed a COVID-19 contact-tracing application to be deployed in all its locations across the Nigeria.[95] Nigeria
2020 June 8 Mobile app launch COVID-19 app DiagnoseMe is launched by engineers from Burkina Faso.[96] Burkina Faso
2020 June 9 Mobile app launch Poland releases a new version of the COVID-19 contact tracing app ProteGO Safe, now adapted to address concerns about privacy. Previously, the official contact-tracing app released by the government spurred debate on privacy and surveillance during the pandemic, with critics seeing ample opportunity for abuse.[97][98][99] Poland
2020 June 10 Digital privacy A French ethical hacker claims Pakistan's COVID-19 contact tracing app COVID-19 Gov PK reveals patients' locations, and emphasizes that the software is not a contact tracing app, adding that it "gives access to dashboards for each province and state, you can do a self-assessment, get radius alert, get a popup notification reminding the user of their personal hygiene". The government denies claims.[100][101] Pakistan
2020 June 14 Mobile app launch The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA) launches Tabaud, a contact-tracing app aimed to track COVID-19. Saudi Arabia becomes one of the latest countries to use the Apple-Google Exposure Notification System. Users can share their information and then contact those having come into contact with. If a user tests positive, a notification would be sent to users who came into close contact with the infected user during the last 14 days.[102][103] Saudi Arabia
2020 June 15 Digital privacy The Norwegian government decides to stop using its COVID-19 contact tracing app after controversial case concerning privacy, and hours before Amnesty International released an analysis criticizing the app.[104] Norway
2020 June 15 Mobile app launch The Uruguyan Government launches CoronavirusUY, which uses Exposure Notification system.[105][106][107] Uruguay
2020 June 16 Mobile app launch The Robert Koch Institute in Germany launches the Corona-Warn-App, which is designed to speedily track down new clusters of coronavirus infection as the country's lockdown is relaxed.[108][109][36] The app is launched after a long-drawn discussion about data privacy issues and the related design of the app. The download is voluntary, and information exchange takes place locally on people’s phones without collecting information on a central server about personal identities or locations.[15][110] Germany
2020 June Policy Germany mandates contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases.[21] Germany
2020 June 16 Digital privacy An investigation by Amnesty International reveals that Bahrain’s ‘BeAware Bahrain’, Kuwait’s ‘Shlonik’ and Norway’s ‘Smittestopp’ apps stand out among the most dangerous contact tracing apps regarding privacy, "with all three actively carrying out live or near-live tracking of users’ locations by frequently uploading GPS coordinates to a central server".[111] Bahrain, Kuwait, Norway
2020 June 17 Userbase Germany’s Corona-Warn-App is downloaded 6.5 million times in the first 24 hours since its launch.[112] Germany
2020 June 18 Mobile app launch Toronto and New York City–based Micron Digital Corp develops BIOS (Biokinetic Interactivity Observation System), a mobile phone application aimed at tracing contacts with potential positive cases anonymously.[113] United States,Canada
2020 June 18 Mobile app launch The Danish government launches COVID-19 infection tracing app Smittestop, which notifies citizens who have been in close proximity to a person infected with COVID-19.[114][115] Denmark
2020 June 18 Manual contact tracing A survey shows that the national coronavirus contact tracing workforce in the United States reached 37,110 workers, tripling 11,142 workers counted six weeks before.[116] United States
2020 June 19 Mobile app launch Japan launches the COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application (COCOA), which allows users to know whether or not they had contact with infected persons. It is developed by Microsoft.[117][118][119] Japan
2020 June 25 Mobile app launch Switzerland launches COVID-19 contact tracing app SwissCovid, which uses exposure notification.[120][121] Switzerland
2020 June 29 Mobile app launch Spain launches first phase of Radar COVID, which uses Exposure Notification system.[122][122][123] Spain
2020 July 7 Mobile app launch The Irish Government releases digital contact tracing app COVID Tracker Ireland, which uses exposure notification by Google and Apple Inc.[124] Ireland
2020 July 13 Mobile app launch Kenya's Ministry of Health announces launch of web-based app to trace COVID-19 cases in the country.[125] Kenya
2020 July Program shutdown Most states in India abandon contact tracing, as COVID-19 cases surge in the country. States instead opt for doing mass testing. As a response, experts say one cannot be a replacement for the other.[126] India
2020 July Policy Canada mandates contact tracing for all cases of COVID-19 cases.[21] Canada
2020 July 21 Digital privacy Major security flaws are found in a South Korean quarantine app, exposing private details of people in quarantine. The flaws are also found to allow hackers to tamper with data to make it look as if users of the app were either violating quarantine orders or still in quarantine despite being somewhere else. After acknowledgement by South Korean officials, the defects are eventually fixed.[127] South Korea
2020 July 21 Education Florida–based Ultimate Medical Academy launches a new online, non-credit, six-module interactive course which can be completed in only a few hours, covering topics like epidemiology, public health and the day-to-day tasks of contact tracers.[128] United States
2020 July 21 Performance An article by Christie Aschwanden on scientificamerican.com reports on contact tracing in the United States being severely underused, and states that, despite tracing’s success in other countries, the U.S. government has failed to adequately fund or apply the tool.[129] United States
2020 July 23 Education California–based Bakersfield College announces launch of a week-long Infectious Disease Contact Tracing Course, as a response of need for more contact tracers.[130][131] United States
2020 July 27 Mobile app launch Croatia launches contact tracing app STOP COVID-19, a voluntary, cyber-secured application, using only temporary and anonymous data. It does not use geolocation tracking, and there is no collection of user’s data, with the app success expected to be based on "conscientious and solidary participation of citizens”.[132] Croatia
2020 July 30 Mobile app launch StopCOVID NI launches in Northern Ireland, which becomes the first region in the United Kingdom to launch a COVID-19 tracker app.[133][134] United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
2020 July 31 Mobile app launch COVID-19 tracking app COVID Alert is launched in Canada by the federal government. Code from Shopify was used and app security was built with assistance of Blackberry Inc. The technology is developed with Apple Inc and Google.[135][136][137][138] Canada
2020 July 31 Mobile app launch The Government of Brazil announces Coronavírus-SUS.[139] Brazil
2020 End of July Education More than half a million people are enrolled for a free online COVID-19 contact-tracing course offered by Johns Hopkins University.[140] United States
2020 August 5 Protocol integration Brazil integrates Apple-Google exposure notification tech into its federal government-backed COVID-19 smartphone app.[141] Brazil
2020 August 12 Userbase As of date, about 15.7 million smartphone users have downloaded Vietnamese locally-developed contact-tracing app Bluezone, designed to identify and alert people who have interacted with COVID-19 patients.[142] Vietnam
2020 August 12 Userbase The Indian government-promoted app Aarogya Setu reaches 150 million downloads, after four months of its commencement.[143] India
2020 August 13 Mobile app launch The government of Ecuador launches app that notifies users contact with COVID-19 cases.[144] Ecuador
2020 August 18 Mobile app launch The Slovenian Public Administration Minister launches contact tracing app OstaniZdrav (StayWell), for Android users.[145] Slovenia
2020 August 20 Mobile app launch Estonia launches free COVID-19 exposure notification app Hoia, which is optional and not mandatory, and has the purpose to inform close contacts of those infected, and to provide them with initial instructions on how to proceed.[146][147] Estonia
2020 August 27 Userbase By this time, more than 300,000 users have downloaded Northern Ireland's contact-tracing app StopCovid NI, covering over 15% of the region's residents.[148] United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
2020 August 31 Mobile app launch Finland launches smartphone app Koronavilkku, as part of the Government's test, trace, isolate and treat strategy.[149][150][151] In one day, Downloads of this app quickly reach 1 million, corresponding to nearly one fifth of Finland's population of 5.52 million.[152][153] Finland
2020 September 1 Mobile app launch South Africa launches COVID Alert SA, the government’s official Bluetooth contact-tracing app. It’s built on the Apple–Google Exposure Notifications application programmable interface (API).[154][155] South Africa
2020 September 1 Mobile app launch StayAway Covid is launched in Portugal, for iOS and Android.[156] Portugal
2020 September 3 Mobile app launch The Government of Philippines launches StaySafe.ph, a contact tracing application aimed to trace COVID-19 close contacts and warn the public on “nearby danger”.[157] Philippines
2020 September 3 Mobile app launch COVID Alert is launched in South Africa. The app uses Exposure Notification system created by Apple and Google, and Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have been in contact with COVID-19.[158] South Africa
2020 September 4 Performance High numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Brazil are partly attributable to limited contact tracing, along with other factors such as urban density, timing of the implementation and maintenance of social distancing policies, and limited testing capacity.[159] Brazil
2020 September 9 Mobile app launch Saw Saw Shar is developed by the Myanmar Computer Federation as the official contact-tracing app of Myanmar. The app provides symptom monitoring as well as timely notifications on nearby potential high-risk areas with positive cases.[160] Myanmar
2020 September 10 Mobile app launch Protect Scotland launches in Scotland as a COVID-19 contact-tracing application. The Scottish government says that the software supports the Test and Protect system and is "another tool in the fight against COVID-19".[161][162] United Kingdom (Scotland)
2020 September 10 Mobile app launch Guam Covid Alert is launched in Guam. This exposure notification app is developed by engineers with Apple, Google, and the PathCheck Foundation that uses Bluetooth technology for digital contact tracing.[163][164] Guam
2020 September 17 Mobile app launch eRouška (eMask) is launched in the Czech republic as a contact tracing app. It uses the Exposure Notification protocol.[165][166] Czech Republic
2020 September 24 Mobile app launch NHS COVID-19 app launches in England and Wales. It uses the Exposure Notification protocol.[167] United Kingdom (England, Wales)
2020 September 30 Mobile app launch Belgium rolls out contact tracing app Coronalert, available to download from the Belgium App Store and working in all three regions and different languages in the country.[168][169] Belgium
2020 September 30 Mobile app launch COVID Alert NY is launched in New York State. The app notifies users of potential COVID-19 exposure while maintaining user privacy and security. It is based on COVID Tracker Ireland.[170][171] United States (New York)
2020 September 30 Study A large contact tracing study in India shows that COVID-19 is transmitted mainly by "superspreaders", which consists in a small percentage of infected people.[172] India
2020 October 6 Education University of California San Francisco and Salesforce launch free contact tracing course on Salesforce’s online learning platform Trailhead. The course lasts approximately 3.5 hours and covers the science of the virus, its impact on public health, interview techniques and effective communication skills.[173] United States
2020 October 8 Mobile app launch Kazakhstan launches the Saqbol mobile app, a COVID-19 contact tracing app designed to control the spread of the infection and timely locate the virus’s hotspots. Infected users can anonymously inform others on their contacts in the last 14 days for 15 minutes and in a distance of 2 meters. According to the developers, the records of interaction between devices are encoded.[174] Kazakhstan
2020 October 10 Mobile app launch Dutch COVID-19 notification app CoronaMelder is launched. It is designed according to the privacy by design requirements.[175] Netherlands
2020 October 19 Userbase As of date, Ireland's COVID Tracker app has 2.1 million registrations since its launch, and has an active user base of 1.31 million. This represents 34 per cent of the adult population in the country.[176] Republic of Ireland
2020 October 26 Mobile app launch The French government launches TousAntiCovid, which uses a centralized system that sends the data from a phone to government systems to do the contact matching.[177] France
2020 October 31 Performance Taiwan's COVID-19 response is considered to be a success, cumulating over six months without a locally transmitted case. It is considered to be the only major country having so far been able to keep community transmission of COVID-19 eliminated. Its contact tracing deployment on average linked 20 to 30 contacts to each confirmed case. In extreme situations, the government tracked down as many as 150 contacts. All contacts would undergo a 14-day home quarantine, even if they test negative.[178][179] Taiwan
2020 November 9 Mobile app launch MI COVID Alert launches in Michigan. The app is designed to notify users if they have potentially been in close contact with infected people.[180] United States (Michigan)
2020 November 25 Mobile app launch The Russian government launches Gosuslugi, a smartphone app that alerts users of possible exposure to COVID-19. The app scans the user’s surroundings in a 10-meter radius and measures how close and for how long they interact with other users. Infected users are expected to voluntarily notify the app, which then sends alerts to all others who were in close proximity to them.[181][182] Russia
2020 November Performance It is reported that in England, tracers fail to get in touch with one in eight people who test positive for COVID-19, and 18% of those who are reached provide no details for close contacts.[2] United Kingdom (England)
2020 November Performance It is reported that in some regions of the United States, more than half of people who test positive provide no details of contacts when asked.[2] United States
2020 December 3 Partnership Delta Airlines partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for international traveler contact tracing. The partnership aims at keeping international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure.[183][184] United States
2020 December 7 Mobile app launch CA Notify is launched in California, allowing users who test positive to anonymously inform those with whom they have been in close proximity that they may have been exposed. The app is designed to optimize privacy, it doesn’t use location data or identify the people users come into contact with.[185][186][187][188] California
2020 December 21 Mobile app launch Smittestopp launches in Norway, replacing a version of the app that was suspended earlier in the year due to scrutiny from the local Norwegian Data Protection Authority.[189][190] Within two days, the new infection control app is downloaded 158,700 times, with already 41 people reporting that they are infected.[191] Norway
2020 December 23 Public opinion An article on privacy and surveillance in the COVID-19 Pandemic reports that U.S. citizens continue to be deeply skeptical of contact tracing technology and hesitant to adopt other preventive measures.[192] United States
2021 January 21 Performance Research conducted in Germany shows that contact tracing app Corona Warn-App is underused by those who have heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19.[193] Germany
2021 January 28 Digital privacy The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act is introduced in the United States as a legislation meant to tackle the privacy and security issues tied to technologies used for the COVID-19 response, including contact tracing apps.[194] United States
2021 February 9 Performance A National Health Service evaluation on COVID-19 app, which was launched in England and Wales, finds that the app sent out 4.4 exposure notifications for every user who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and agreed to the app notifying their contacts. This is more than twice the average of 1.8 contacts notified through manual contact tracing.[195] United Kingdom (England and Wales)
2021 March 5 Public opinion Cross-national online survey on public opinion towards COVID-19 contact tracing apps is conducted in China, revealing that approval rates in the country exceed those in western countries by a significant margin.[15] China
2021 March 10 Education Novosibirsk State University partners with Johns Hopkins University and launches Russian version of Coursera COVID-19 Contact Tracing Course by JHU.[196] Russia
2021 March Performance Global media recognizes Vietnam’s response to COVID-19, highlighting three levels of contact tracing for any positive case which have been detected within the country. This, combined with other containment measures, such as targeted testing, and isolation of suspected COVID-19 cases, are recognized for having helped keep recorded infections and death rates notably low on a per capita basis.[9][197] Vietnam
2021 April 19 Performance COVID-19 response in South Korea is considered to be successful at this point, as a result of effective implementation of comprehensive testing and contact tracing. The country is recognized for having implemented an elaborate contact tracing program.[198] South Korea
2021 May 23 Userbase 209 days after launch, French app TousAntiCovid has been downloaded by 16.5 million people, or 24.6% of the French population, surpassing what is considered to be the minimum level it needed to work efficiently.[199] France
2021 May 25 Performance California state and local health leaders say that over the past year contact tracing was moderately successful, but acknowledge that trouble with remote training, changing protocols and understaffing during surges of the disease hobbled the program.[200] United States (California)
2021 June 3 Performance Study published in JAMA Network Open reports hat contact tracing in the United States was largely ineffective in slowing COVID-19 virus transmission and improving population health, mostly due to insufficient interview responses.[201][202] United States
2021 June 29 Tool launch The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization launch a tool to evaluate effectiveness of contact tracing. The tool consists in an indicator framework, aimed to provide countries with a standardized approach for evaluating their use of digital proximity tracing solutions.[203]

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External links


  1. "COVID-19 Contact Tracing Device Balances Workplace Safety with Privacy". Manufacturing.net. 23 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lewis, Dyani (14 December 2020). "Why many countries failed at COVID contact-tracing — but some got it right". Nature. pp. 384–387. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03518-4. Retrieved 24 March 2021. 
  3. "Contact tracing". Google Trends. Retrieved 19 March 2021. 
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