In Brief: Germany launches COVID-19 contact tracing app

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has called for as many people as possible to download the “Corona-Warn-App” for it to be effective.

 

Updated on Tuesday, June 16 at 10:30 a.m.

By Sylvia Cunningham and Kate Brady

Now that Germany’s blanket travel warning is lifted for most European countries, air travel is picking up again at Berlin’s two airports.

Spokeswoman Sabine Deckwerth said passengers should expect security checks to take longer than usual, because officials must adhere to social distancing while carrying them out.

She advises passengers to carry only one piece of hand luggage, so that process goes faster.

The pandemic shrunk air travel in Berlin from an average of 1,000 takeoffs and landings per day to about 10. The airport authority estimates that number should rise to about 100 per day this week.

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After weeks of delays and debate over data protection, Germany’s coronavirus contact tracing app is ready for download.

The concept is simple: The app uses Bluetooth to track when, and how long, you’ve been around other users. You’ll receive an alert if you’ve been near a positive case.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn told public broadcaster ARD the app won’t tell you whom you’ve been infected by, only that you were near a positive case for a certain amount of time.

Spahn has called for as many people as possible to download the app for it to be effective. Data is stored locally to meet strict privacy regulations.

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The regional branch of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Brandenburg is being put under surveillance.

The state’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen told reporters yesterday that the branch has become increasingly radical.

“The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has the task of switching on the light so that everyone can see what is happening in the dark corners,” Stübgen said. “That light is now fully on.”

Daniel Freiherr von Lützow, the deputy chairman of Brandenburg’s AfD branch, told public broadcaster rbb his party intends to fight the decision in court. He said he finds the decision “undemocratic” considering the AfD is the second most represented party in the state parliament.

 

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

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