The German contact tracing app is set to launch sometime this week, the latest country to adopt the Apple/Google API as part of its coronavirus response. Unconfirmed reports say that the launch date is tomorrow.

Germany is also relaxing travel restrictions into the country …

Reuters reports that the government confirmed the plan but wouldn’t be drawn on the exact day.

Germany’s smartphone app to trace coronavirus infections is ready to be launched this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday.

After delays to ensure the bluetooth technology would work at the correct distance, the government says the app will be a vital tool to help avoid a second wave of infections.

“It’s coming this week,” Spahn told ARD television, but he declined to confirm German media reports that the app would be launched on Tuesday.

It comes two weeks after Italy launched its own contact-tracing app, also using the API – with downloads off to a good start. Other European countries are also adopting or switching to the app.

Germany has had a lower death rate than many European countries thanks to early social distancing measures and rapid implementation of a test program.

DW reports that the country is today lifting a blanket ban on travel from the UK and other EU countries, saying that it will replace it with travel advice tailored to specific countries and regions.

Germany already began opening its borders to neighboring Austria, Switzerland, and France on May 16 under tightly controlled conditions. As of June 15, the country is set to fully relax borders and restrictions on inter-EU travel.

Not everyone is comfortable with this.

The restart of tourism has sparked concerns among some German doctors about a potential second wave. Hajo Zeep, a senior medical expert from the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in the city of Bremen, last month warned that there is still not enough immunity in the population to prevent another spike in infections.

The government is simply urging caution, asking people to avoid unnecessary travel.

Spahn also urged people wishing to go on holiday after European border controls are eased on Monday to be careful and ask themselves whether their trip was necessary.

The German contact tracing app should help the country monitor the impact of the new policy.

Image: Pxhere

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Ben Lovejoy

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