The French Government is currently developing a “StopCovid” app that will enable authorities to pinpoint the location of users and then send mobile alerts to people who may have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. The technology, which will not be mandatory to use, will then determine whether an individual should get tested for coronavirus or self-isolate. The proposals have already been met with severe opposition from the French public and leading politicians.
An opinion poll published on Sunday has found more than half of French people would not download the app amid concerns over privacy and confidentiality.
The survey conducted by IFOP, for the Jean-Jaurès Foundation think-tank, has found 53 percent would oppose using the tracking app.
The method of mass testing is based on the South Korean model which has used modern technology to fight the disease.
South Korea – which has a population of more than 50 million – has seen just over 200 Coronavirus-related deaths since the outbreak began in early January.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has also cast doubt over the use of the app and has called for an urgent parliamentary debate.
Mr Philippe said: “It raises many questions when there is a need for national unity to exit from the lockdown.”
Former justice minister Jacques Toubon warned the technology could compromise an individuals’ right to privacy.
He said: “We live in a democracy under the rule of law, which confers a certain number of fundamental rights and I am responsible, along with the courts, for ensuring they are respected.
“Among them is the right to privacy.”
Cédric O, Secretary of State for the Digital Economy, has played down any concerns and insisted it would not be compulsory to use and the information collected would be deleted.
He said: “It would be a tool installed voluntarily that could be uninstalled at any time.
“The data would be anonymous and deleted after a certain time.”
On Sunday, French Health authorities confirmed the number of deaths has increased by 561 to 14,393.
The death toll which includes data from hospitals and nursing homes decreased from the 635 fatalities recorded on Saturday, indicating restrictions are beginning to take effect.
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In a statement the Public Health France said: “This data confirms that the epidemic keeps going on in our country in a dynamic way and it continues to hit us hard.
“Confinement measures, the application of barrier gestures, physical distancing for a minimum of 1 meter, social distance and a drastic reduction in contacts produce their first effects.”
This evening in an address to the nation, the French President is expected to extend the lockdown into May.
France has been on a nationwide lockdown since March 17 which had initially been due to expire on April 15.
It is understood the restrictions will be in place until at least the end of the bank holiday weekend on May 8-10.
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