Apple and Google introduced a new COVID-19 Exposure Notification API in May this year, which allows public health authorities to offer apps that can alert users when they have been exposed to the virus. The API is now getting more improvements to allow more flexibility in how the data obtained by these apps is managed and more.
The update to the COVID-19 Exposure Notification API was announced by Google today and it includes a number of changes to make exposure notifications even more capable and flexible. Public health authorities that have already adopted the API in their apps now have more control to determine the level of risk of each exposure based on technical information.
Another important change is that the companies behind the Exposure Notification API have recalibrated the Bluetooth controllers to improve detection of nearby devices, as this system uses the Bluetooth connection to anonymously identify if a user was close to another person who tested positive for COVID-19.
While the first version of the API didn’t allow different apps to communicate with each other, this new version now supports interoperability between countries. The update also promises to provide better debugging tools so developers can perform more in-depth testing in order to create more reliable apps.
Google says these improvements were made based on requests from governments that are already using the API, which now includes more than 16 countries. You can read more details on the latest update to the Exposure Notification API on 9to5Google.
COVID-19 alerts now available in Brazil
We covered earlier today the launch of the new COVID Alert app that uses the API from Apple and Google to offer COVID-19 Exposure Notifications in Canada for the first time. Now, the Brazilian Ministry of Health has just announced that Brazil will also offer support for the same API for iPhone and Android users.
Brazilians will have access to exposure alerts through the Coronavirus SUS app, which currently provides data on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and tips on prevention. The Brazilian government says that patients who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a unique token with the test result, which can be inserted in the Coronavirus SUS app to alert other users with the app installed. The process is completely anonymous and voluntary.
One incredibly important thing to keep in mind is that this COVID Alert application, or any application built using Apple’s Exposure Notification API, will not work on iOS 14. Both the developer and public betas of iOS 14 lack support for the API, which we covered in detail here.
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