October 2, 2023

Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

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New app to assist Ministry of Health’s contact tracing efforts

January 4th, 2022

A new app will help the Ministry of Health and Wellness enhance its contact tracing efforts through digitisation.

The Barbados Exposure Notification App (BENApp) is a free, anonymous contact tracing and symptoms monitoring app designed to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health says while manual contact tracing has been pivotal in slowing the spread of the virus, it takes a while to process everyone. However, with digital contact tracing and exposure notifications, individuals can quickly receive exposure alerts.

The app is for use by locals and travellers, and will provide proactive alerts about possible exposures to educate users of potential risk. This information will help them assess symptoms and take necessary steps.

The BENApp will notify people if they’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and has the app running. If someone tests positive, he or she can use the app to anonymously notify anyone who has been nearby. It doesn’t collect any personal information or track a location.

The App uses a new feature created by Apple and Google, which utilises Bluetooth radio to listen for and send randomly generated keys. Each key is a series of unidentifiable numbers without any personal information. These randomly generated keys are stored on an individual’s phone, and he or she can choose to share them, if diagnosed.

The Ministry says BENApp has undergone extensive local and international testing to ensure that the technology is ready for deployment, including approval from the Google Play Store and Apple. It has also undergone a rigorous design process to ensure the safety of the data it collects.

Along with BIMSafe, which was designed for travellers, BENApp will reinforce Barbados’ protection against COVID-19. Unlike, BIMSafe, BENApp does not collect any personal identifier information.

BENApp is available for iOS and Android phones from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store and more information about the App can be found on https://benapp.gov.bb.

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