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Latvia launching contact tracing app using Apple-Google API

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Latvia's upcoming COVID-19 tracing app will be one of the first to use the Apple-Google contact tracing API, and may also work in tandem with apps produced in other European countries.

The app named Apturi Covid — "Stop COVID" — will use the new tools that exited beta last week. The update allows public health agencies (PHA) apps to alert users of potential exposure risks to the coronavirus, by determining if they have come within range of a potential virus carrier.

"The developers believe that reliance on this standard will ensure widespread adoption and also compatibility over time with contact tracing apps around the world that are also expected to adopt the same exposure notification framework," the app's developers said in a statement, according to Reuters.

At launch, the app will only work within Latvia, however the country plans to have the app converse with other regional versions, such as apps developed by Germany, Switzerland, and Estonia. This could allow those who travel within the European Union to continually be monitored for contact tracing, even when not in their home country.

The goal is to help limit the spread of COVID-19 when countries begin to ease restrictions of movement. In theory, such apps will assist in maintaining social distancing while people travel, as well as limiting the activity of those who may be carrying the virus.

Other countries have begun developing their own contact tracing apps, but have seen limited success. The Australian government admitted that its Covidsafe app didn't work correctly on the iPhone because it wasn't using Apple's Exposure Notification frameworks. Singapore's "TraceTogether" had also run into similar problems.