South Africa has launched a new mobile application to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent a possible second wave of the virus, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

“Technology is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and accelerating our return to everyday life,” the department was quoted by the COVID Alert SA website as saying, adding that contact tracing is one of the most critical aspects of combating COVID-19.

COVID Alert South Africa is a cutting-edge mobile application that uses the Exposure Notification system created by Apple and Google in line with global best practice. It uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have been in contact with coronavirus, including strangers in retail stores, in public transport or in any public space.

“It gives everyone the chance to understand their exposure to the virus, so that we can protect every member of the community, especially those most at risk,” said the website.

“It is an important tool to combating the pandemic, as it can help slow the spread of the virus and save lives,” it said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also welcomed the launch of the app, saying it is “a significant milestone in our country’s fight against coronavirus, and will play an important role in preventing a second wave of infections.”

“The more South Africans download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping a second wave of COVID-19 infection,” said the president.

“But even as we use the app, we must still wear cloth masks, wash or sanitise our hands regularly, maintain social distancing and take all other precautions to keep safe,” he added.

As of Wednesday, South Africa has recorded more than 630,000 COVID-19 cases, with 14,389 deaths, according to the department.

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