[Updated] Premier David Burt is holding a press conference today [Dec 11] for the official launch of the WeHealth Bermuda App. As a note, there are also statements/press conferences scheduled for 3pm today and 5.45pm today, and we will have coverage of those as well.
Update 3.20pm: Premier Burt’s remarks:
Good afternoon Bermuda and good afternoon to members of the media who have joined me today.
I am pleased to announce the official launch of WeHealth Bermuda, a free smartphone application designed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus on our island by anonymously notifying app users of potential exposure.
More than 4,000 people in Bermuda have already downloaded the app and that number continues to increase daily. Our families, neighbours, and community depend on us to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, which is why we urge all Bermudians and visitors to the island to download the app now from the App Store or Google Play. You can find it by searching WeHealth Bermuda.
After a person is tested, and if they are positive for the coronavirus and have downloaded the app, they will receive a randomized verification code from the Ministry of Health. The person will call then enter that code into the app, and WeHealth Bermuda will then anonymously notify other WeHealth app users that an infected person was in close proximity, even if they don’t know that person.
Because WeHealth Bermuda does not use or collect personal information or track users’ locations, these notifications will be completely anonymous. Instead, WeHealth Bermuda uses secure Bluetooth signals to measure how long and how close app users were together.
Once you download and install the app on your smartphone, there’s nothing else you need to do. The app will run in the background and alert you to any exposure risks, and it uses very little data or battery life to run.
Please encourage your friends, family and coworkers to download WeHealth Bermuda, too.
If you have questions about the WeHealth Bermuda app, please visit www.gov.bm/wehealth or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pairing WeHealth Bermuda exposure notifications with manual contact tracing and other preventative measures, like wearing a mask, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing means better protection for us all. As we navigate through this spike we have to use every possible tool to prevent and contain the spread.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, this tool was used by the University of Arizona this year and it helped to reduce the rate of infection from a daily average of 160 to under five in only a few weeks.
This was achieved by employing targeted quarantine of individuals at high risk of infection, rather than mass quarantines, or a complete lockdown.
They were able to reduce infections by 97%, and were able to continue classes in person. I cannot express how critical this is to our current efforts to curb our current outbreak, and how essential it is that persons participate with this app.
I have the app on my phone which I downloaded several weeks ago. The app is now live. As I have said, once you download the app, you don’t have to do anything else. It is running in the background. It uses less that 1MB of data a month and as it’s bluetooth low energy it will not drain your battery life.
As easy and simple as it sounds, this is the technology together with other public health guidance, including extensive testing that we are using in the fight against the coronavirus on our shores.
Each person who is watching this broadcast, please take a minute to download the app. Once you download it, message two friends. Tell them to download it.
I extend my thanks and appreciation to everyone who has worked late nights and weekends on this app to ensure a successful launch today. Members of the Department of Information and Digital Technology, Ministry of Health, Department of Communications and our overseas partners WeHealth.
Special thanks to Martin Walsh and Denis Pitcher who have been driving this initiative. Bermuda will be one for the first countries to deploy a fully privacy compliant country-wide anonymous notification application.
As I end.
- 1. This Ap is completely anonymous – it doesn’t require registration and your data isn’t shared with anyone.
- 2. This App is vital to ensure that we can quickly tackle this outbreak. I urge everyone to download this app so that we can use the power of technology to defeat the coronavirus.