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Almost one-third of Finland downloads Covid tracing app within a week

The app, which launched just a week ago, has already been downloaded onto smartphones nearly two million times.

Koronavilkun käyttäjä lähijunassa.
File photo of woman using Finland's coronavirus tracing app, Koronavilkku. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

Nearly one-in-three people in Finland have downloaded the Koronavilkku coronavirus contact tracing app, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, THL.

On Monday, the agency reported that the app--released only a week ago--had already been downloaded 1.8 million times. Finland's total population is just over 5.5 million people.

During that first week, a total of 41 of Koronavilkku's users have entered so-called unlock codes into the app. Healthcare professionals give these unlock codes to users who've been diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, according to THL's director of information services, Aleksi Yrttiaho.

Then, the unlock codes enable the phone belonging to the infected person to alert other app users that they may have been exposed to the virus.

"We do not receive information regarding how many exposure notifications are issued. Information about contacts is only [available] on a user's phone," he said in a statement.

The app was released on iOS and Android just last week and so far, has been popular, according to Yrttiaho.

"The first couple of days the application was downloaded significantly more than we had anticipated. People want to help in preventing the spread of coronavirus," he said.

The app is available in Finnish and Swedish and an English version is currently in the works. An update to Android, which will give users the option to allow the app to override a smartphone's power settings is also being prepared.

"The power saving settings on some Android models prevents the app from working. It will be fixed, but users can also change the phone's settings themselves," Yrttiaho said.

Last week, the All Points North podcast discussed the tracing app and many of the week's major news stories.

You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed. Be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts and sign up for the APN newsletter.

Audio: Yle News

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