Coronavirus Australia

Last updated

Coronavirus Australia
Coronavirus Australia App Icon.png
Screenshot
Coronavirus Australia v1.1.jpg
Developer(s)
Initial release29 March 2020;17 months ago (2020-03-29)
Stable release
1.1 / 28 May 2020;16 months ago (2020-05-28) [1]
Written in
  • Kotlin (Android)
  • Swift (iOS)
Operating system Android, iOS
Size
  • 7.1 MB (Android)
  • 23.6 MB (iOS)
Available inEnglish
Licence Proprietary software
Website www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/coronavirus-australia-app

Coronavirus Australia is an app released by the Australian Government designed to allow users to access information about the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. [2] The app was developed by Delv Pty Ltd for the Department of Health and released on 29 March 2020. [3] Since release the app has been downloaded over a million times and ranked first in the Apple App Store's "Health and Fitness" category. [4] Due to the short development period of two weeks, the app initially served primarily as an aggregate of links to official government websites. [5] Shortly after an update was released adding a voluntary "isolation registration" form that collected the location, name, age, mobile phone number, isolation start date, and various other details about users who were self isolating. [6] [7]

On 14 April 2020 a separate contact tracing app, COVIDSafe, was announced based on Singapore's TraceTogether app and BlueTrace protocol. [8] [9]

Development

A screenshot of Coronavirus Australia prior to its 28 May redesign Coronavirus Australia App Screenshot.jpg
A screenshot of Coronavirus Australia prior to its 28 May redesign

The app was developed by recruitment house Delv Pty Ltd over a period of two weeks. [10] Delv was hired by the Digital Transformation Agency for A$1.85 million, and the Department of Health for A$1.438 million; totaling over A$3 million. [11] The app launched on 29 March 2020, three days after it was first announced publicly. [12] Although initially rumoured to have similar functions to Singapore's open source TraceTogether app, [13] it did not have such features at release. The day after launch an update was released adding a voluntary isolation registration form, and a web version was released to accompany it. [14]

Later, on 9 April 2020, another update was released adding an "essential information" tab and link to various translations of SBS news. [15] The essential information tab added dot points summarising information about the coronavirus.

The 28 May 2020 release completely overhauled the user interface, moving from a card based interface with a navigation drawer, to a tab and folder based one. With the replacement of the drawer with tabs on Android, the two apps gained a consistent navigation model. [16] A news feed showing the latest news items has been moved to the home screen, with many of the cards that were previously present there moved to the tab bar or nested within a folder. Additionally, a custom content management system has been introduced, [17] allowing for the embedding of native articles and content. [18]

The release on 9 July 2020 introduced a COVID-19 clinic finder and restriction checker. The clinic finder was built on top of the Australian Government's existing HealthDirect API, [19] in contrast to the rest of the app which uses Firebase Firestore and Remote Config to fetch dynamic content. [20] [21]

On 30 September 2020 the contract for the development of the Coronavirus Australia app concluded, effectively ending major development of the app. [22] [23]

Version history
VersionRelease dateFeatures
1.0.029 March 2020Initial release
1.0.130 March 2020Added the "register isolation" form
1.0.29 April 2020Added the "essential information" tab and the SBS news banner
1.0.423 April 2020Added video content
1.128 May 2020UI overhaul and consistency improvements between Android & iOS
1.49 July 2020Introduction of clinic finder and restrictions checker
1.4.922 October 2020Minor changes to notifications to improve reliable delivery.

Offline mode fixed in Android versions - now displays content when device is not connected to the internet.

Cumulative graph added to Numbers screen.

1.4.1021 January 2021Replaces the display of 'Recovered' cases with 'Active cases' to keep the numbers consistent with data released by Department of Health.

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References

  1. "Coronavirus Australia - Apps on Google Play". play.google.com. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  2. "Government launches Coronavirus Australia app, WhatsApp feature". ABC News. 29 March 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. Page (CMO), Rosalyn (2 April 2020). "Coronavirus Australia app diverse customer experience focus". www.cmo.com.au. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  4. "Coronavirus Australia on the App Store". 12 April 2020. Archived from the original on 12 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  5. Knowles, Catherine. "Australian Govt teams up with Delv to release COVID-19 app". itbrief.com.au. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  6. Taylor, Josh (31 March 2020). "Coronavirus and app downloads: what you need to know about protecting your privacy". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  7. "Screenshot of COVID-19 Isolation Registration Form". 4 October 2020.
  8. Crowe, David (14 April 2020). "Mobile tracing is next step in virus battle in bid to stop outbreaks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  9. xssfox (17 April 2020). "Tweet by xssfox". @xssfox. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  10. "Canberra's Delv awarded $1.85 million for developing COVID-19 app". CRN Australia. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  11. "Govt paid $3m for COVID info app". InnovationAus. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  12. "Govt coronavirus app set for launch". InnovationAus. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  13. "Govt eyes Singapore COVID-19 tracking app". InnovationAus. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. "Coronavirus (COVID-19) self-isolation and test status notification". covid-form.service.gov.au. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  15. "App version 1.0.2 screenshot".
  16. Screenshots of pre and post v1.1
  17. Coronavirus Australia decompilation; au/gov/health/covid19/cms/backend/CMS.kt; 29 May 2020
  18. "What Is A Content Management System (CMS)?". Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  19. Decompiled v1.4 Android Source; /au/gov/health/covid19/clinic/HealthDirectNetwork.kt
  20. Decompiled v1.4 Android Source
  21. Agency, Digital Transformation (14 July 2020). "Using raw data to meet user needs during COVID-19". www.dta.gov.au. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  22. "Contract Notice View - CN3669719-A1: AusTender". www.tenders.gov.au. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  23. "Contract Notice View - CN3671937: AusTender". www.tenders.gov.au. Retrieved 30 October 2020.