France’s Virus App Has a Slow Start, With Just 14 Notifications

France’s coronavirus tracing app has sent just 14 notifications since its launch, underscoring the struggle governments are facing to develop their own digital tools to fight the pandemic.

StopCovid has been downloaded 1.9 million times since its June 2 launch, representing less than 3% of France’s population, Cedric O, the digital minister, said during a press conference in Paris on Tuesday. Only 68 users declared themselves as positive for Covid-19, and 14 “risky contact” notifications have been sent to users who came into close proximity of such cases.

The latest data shows how governments have a tough road ahead in trying to develop their own tools. The U.K. abandoned efforts to launch its own tracing app, and will use technology developed by Apple Inc. and Google instead.

O also said that app removals had accelerated in the “past few days” and could reflect that people are less worried about the pandemic.

Low traffic could create difficulties. More usage means developers can “assess various directions and tweaks to this app in order to be ready for a potential second wave of the epidemic in the months to come,” Vittoria Colizza, research director at Inserm, the French institute of health and medical research, said at the same press conference.

France went into lockdown mid-March and started a progressive exit from May 11 as the virus trends improved.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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