In Brief: German health minister to unveil COVID-19 tracking app in the coming days

The app was supposed to be ready in April, but there were some hitches early on related to data privacy and storage.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.

 

By Sylvia Cunningham, Monika Müller-Kroll and Kate Brady

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said a COVID-19 tracking app will be released to the public in the coming days.

The app, which uses Bluetooth technology to alert users if they’ve been near someone who tests positive for the coronavirus, was supposed to be ready in April.

It faced some early controversy over questions related to data privacy and storage.

But Spahn told the daily Rheinische Post the delay was necessary so that developers could assure users that the app adheres to strict data protection rules and won’t drain their phone’s battery.

Spahn said previously it’s important to convince as many people as possible to download the app in order to more quickly locate outbreaks.

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Some advocacy groups in Germany are criticizing a planned one-time payment to families of 300 euros per child that’s included in the government’s new stimulus package.

The Association for Catholic Families said the bonus is “completely inadequate” considering the strain put on parents during the pandemic.

But Family Affairs Minister Franziska Giffey told public broadcaster ARD she stands by the measure meant to boost the German economy.

She said the support for families goes beyond those 300 euros, including several billions to expand early education and child care.

She added the one-time payment is meant as extra spending money for families.

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As more COVID-19 restrictions ease this week in Berlin, many sports halls are reopening with strict rules.

For now, only 12 people are allowed to train together at the same time in indoor facilities. Contact sports, meanwhile, are off the cards.

But Spandau District Mayor Helmut Kleebank told Berliner Rundfunk that strength and coordination training complement every sport, and that type of training is allowed.

Still, athletes must maintain a 1.5-meter, or roughly 5 feet, distance from one another and gyms must be aired out for at least 10 minutes as groups come and go.

While the use of changing rooms and bathrooms vary from district to district, spectators are still banned from entering sports halls across Berlin.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.  

 

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