Fri, 23 Oct 2020

BERLIN, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Germany's official COVID-19 warning app, launched about 100 days ago, has been downloaded more than 18 million times which was "extraordinary," head of the Chancellery Helge Braun said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Including more than 400,000 downloads from abroad, it was by far the most used COVID-19 app in Europe, according to Braun.

According to the German government, the app was developed to inform citizens who had been in contact with an infected person to detect and break chains of infection. The app would protect the anonymity of users and after 14 days, the data would be deleted from phones.

More than 1.2 million test results were transferred via connected laboratories and almost 5,000 infected users warned their contacts via the app, according to German Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Spahn repeatedly stressed that the app was "not a panacea. It is an important tool, but one tool among many in this pandemic."

The app was developed on behalf of the German government by software company SAP and telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom for around 20 million euros (23.4 million U.S. dollars).

Deutsche Telekom chief executive officer (CEO) Timotheus Hoettges described the development of the app which had to deal with "major problems" in the interaction of Google's and Apple's operating systems as "anything but a normal IT project."

After several attempts, the major problems were fixed in cooperation with Google and Apple. However, Hoettges confirmed on Wednesday that the companies would not make the app compatible with some older mobile phone models.

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