6 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: IT industry calls Ministry of Health too slow

From Morning Report, 6:44 am on 6 April 2020

The IT industry fears the Health Ministry is adopting contact tracing technology that is too slow to keep up with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Health Ministry says it has repurposed its existing technology to improve tracing, and is also working with IT firms.

The ministry's national tracing centre has contacted on average 400 people a day who've had close contact in the past fortnight with an infected person.

That is rising, and recently hit 700 a day - or about 10 contacts for each confirmed or probable Covid-19 case.

Oxford University researchers have concluded the virus is too fast to be contained by manual contact tracing - they recommend using apps.

The New Zealand Technology Industry Association chief executive Graeme Muller told RNZ reporter Phil Pennington the Health Ministry appears to be slow off the mark.