The NZ Covid Tracer app by the government was released on Tuesday night, May 19, a day ahead of its scheduled launch.

The app is designed to track and trace movements of individuals for fast and effect contact tracing, thereby stopping any further spread of the virus in the country. The Covid Tracer creates a digital diary of the places an individual has visited that helps backtrack the movement to the source and spread.

“NZ COVID Tracer helps you protect yourself, your friends, your whanau and your community by enabling faster contact tracing,” Ministry of Health page with NZ Covid Tracer app details read.

Most of the Google Play Store on Android and App Store on iOS are unable to locate the app when searched manually, but people can follow the link on MoH to find the download link. 

You can download the app HERE: NZ COVID Tracer app. Click for iOS or Android.

People installing the app on their smartphones will have to register by entering the email address and password. They will receive a 6-digit code on email to confirm the registration.

Once ready to use, the user needs to input their details such as where they are staying, invite friends and whanau and register their interest in features that will be added in the app in the future updates.

Once registered, the user can start using NZ COVID Tracer to create a digital diary of the locations they visit. They can simply select the ‘scan’ option and point their camera at any COVID-19 QR code poster, so the code fits within the target area on the display of their phone. A green tick will show up on the display when the QR code has been scanned successfully.

How the app supports contact tracing

As per MoH, NZ COVID Tracer is designed to support rather than replace existing contact tracing processes.

The personal information and contact details one registers through NZ COVID Tracer are provided to the National Close Contact Service (NCCS), so they can quickly get in touch if one is identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

If the NCCS needs to get in touch with the user, they will ask them to read out the locations that they have signed into with NZ COVID Tracer. This will help contact tracers identify whether any of their friends, whanau or community members may also have been exposed to COVID-19, so they can respond quickly and stop any further spread of the virus in New Zealand.

An update to NZ COVID Tracer will be released early next month.

This will allow the user to electronically transmit a digital diary of the locations they have visited the NCCS. They will also be able to receive a notification if they have visited a high-risk location, self-report symptoms if they think they may have COVID-19, and carry out a daily health check-in if they are in self-isolation.

Privacy and data security

The Ministry of Health says they have consulted with the Privacy Commissioner to ensure NZ COVID Tracer protects people’s privacy. NZ COVID Tracer has also been through independent security testing.