Reuters reports that Latvia plans to become one of the first countries to launch a smartphone app using a new toolkit created by Apple and Alphabet’s Google to help trace coronavirus infections. The country’s Apturi Covid (Stop Covid) app is based on tech launched by the two companies last week.
Latvia’s approach aligns with a loose coalition of European countries — including Germany, Switzerland and Estonia — that are working to make it possible for their national apps to ‘talk’ to each other across borders. Reuters says that, like mobile roaming, “such interoperability would enable an app to work when a user travels abroad, giving governments greater confidence to ease travel restrictions without triggering a second wave of the pandemic.”
Apple and Goole are releasing application programming interfaces [APIs] that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps are available for users to download via their respective app stores. Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.