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New Australian App ‘One Stop Shop’ For Covid-19 Spots

A new Covid-19 contact tracing app is a “one-stop shop” to track exposure sites and make pandemic data more accessible.

CANBERRA, Australia — A new app promises to make contact tracing data more accessible to Australians.

The CRISPER app was developed by researchers at the Australian National University and the University of Queensland and launched on July 1 for desktop and smartphones.

Project lead Australian National University Professor Colleen Lau said the app provides accurate, reliable and “spatially explicit” real-time information on Covid-19.

“It is nice and visual and on a map compared to just getting a list of locations, so it is much easier for people,” Lau said to the press.

“You can zoom in to where you live or work and see if there are any (exposure site) locations near you.”

Australian National University epidemiologist Dr Meru Sheel said the app was a “one stop shop” to review exposure sites and it would help epidemiologists understand transmission patterns. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image)

The researchers currently use publicly available post-code level data to create a national database of cases, deaths, testing, and contact tracing alert locations.

The app was not funded, created, or endorsed by any government, but it uses data from health departments across Australia on health advice and exposure sites, dates, and times.

Lau said the app updates around every hour and was more “user-friendly” than trying to keep tabs on the Covid-19 alerts for each suburb, state, and territory every day.

CRISPER also provides a national summaries’ dashboard, an interactive mapping tool for New South Wales and users can set up automatic alerts for certain locations.

Lau said while the project was designed for the public, she knew how helpful it would be for health professionals as a former general practitioner.

“General practitioners are very busy so [with the app] they can see what is happening around their clinic and know if they have a patient coming in with symptoms whether there is an exposure site nearby,” Lau said.

Australia National University’s epidemiologist Dr Meru Sheel said the app was a “one stop shop” to review exposure sites and it would help epidemiologists understand transmission patterns.

Queensland recorded three new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 on June 30, with one linked to the clerical worker from the Prince Charles Hospital.

In Australia, from Jan 3, 2020, to 4:47 pm CEST, June 28, 2021, there have been 30,499 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 910 deaths, reported to World Health Organization. As of June 20, 2021, a total of 6,719,384 vaccine doses have been administered. Australians under 40 have so far been shut out from the Covid-19 vaccine rollout as a result of concerns over blood clotting and a shortage of vaccines.

(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)

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