Coronavirus contact tracing apps are one of the main programs that each government formulates to prevent the further spread of the virus. Different companies have already made partnerships, including Apple and Google, that introduced their developed app. However, not all people are still convinced to use these apps. Most of the worries about privacy, but some worries about their capability to use the app, especially if you don't have a smartphone, to begin with.
COVID-19 app won't work, especially for older people without phones
A lot of people are not yet part of the latest technology, even having a smartphone. Generally, the older population in a community tend to be the ones that have no access to using any devices.
When will a COVID-19 contact tracing app be required and introduced by law to download and use, what will happen to those people that don't have any gadgets?
Daily Mail UK reports that an organization representing the older population in the United Kingdom wishes to speak with the government due to the app's non-accessibility to older people.
80% of adults have smartphones in 2018. Ofcom, however, reports that the figure suddenly dropped to 47% from ages 65 to 74-year-olds, and only 26% to those over-75s that have smartphones. This means that the population wherein Coronavirus is more evident than usual have lower chances of using the app for their health protection.
"Any new technology that may help tackle the outbreak is welcomed by us, but we must ensure that no one is disadvantaged or locked out of services simply because they don't have a smartphone," said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK. "We hope [the Government] will find a way to develop the app so that the millions of people without smartphones can participate too, to avoid them being treated like second-class citizens."
These statements were also supported by Dame Esther Rantzen, who founded the Silver Line helpline for older people.
"A lot of us now rely on Facetime or WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family, but many of our callers are not comfortable with mobile phones or the internet, and that is a concern," she said.
People without smartphones may use Bluetooth-enabled bracelets
One suggestion that the group said is to make a Bluetooth-enabled bracelet to those people without smartphones like older ages.
"A lot of older people already do wear a special pendant if they live alone in case they fall or get into some sort of problem, so they can ask for help," said Rantzen.
How to use the app?
Only a small percentage worldwide already uses a COVID-19 contact tracing app. For example, Australia required all its citizens to download their own version of the app and already reached more than 4 million downloads at the start of May.
The contact tracing app is quite easy to use, no matter which app it is or where you're located. The app uses Bluetooth to identify when a person had contact with another person within the past days. If you're positive COVID-19 patient, the app will notify all the people you've been in contact with and tell them to self-isolate to prevent the risks of further spread.