The Guardian

Cheap, popular and it works: Ireland's contact-tracing app success

Irish-made app has more than 1.3m downloads, in stark contrast to the UK’s effortsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage
(Left to right): Health Service Executive director general Paul Reid, health minister Stephen Donnelly and acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn launching Covid Tracker on 7 July. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

A government minister once compared Ireland’s health care system to Angola – a political minefield of dysfunction, bureaucracy, waste and inefficiency. The nickname stuck.

Yet this morass has just produced a shiny success: a Covid-19 contact-tracing app that is popular and appears to work.

Since launching on 6 July, the Covid Tracker app was downloaded 1.3m times in eight days – the fastest-downloaded app per capita in Europe – and has started picking up cases of infection.

“We’ve been delighted by the take-up rate. It’s gone beyond the, the company that made the app for the Health Service Executive (HSE).

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