The StopCovid app, launched in June, has been downloaded just 2.6 million times, making it largely ineffective in a country of 66 million people. Earlier this month Prime Minister Jean Castex was forced to admit that he hadn't downloaded it and in fact couldn't even remember its name.
The app is intended to support the country's contact tracing system, which is run by the health service and works by contacting lists that Covid patients supply of people they have been in contact with.
The app is intended to trace casual contacts – fellow public transport passengers, other customers at a café – whose details patients are unable to supply.
But the poor take-up rendered it largely ineffective, with Digital Minister Cedric O lamenting a “wasted opportunity”.
So now the app has been upgraded with added features and relaunched.
The minister added: “This is only useful if a lot of people use it,” urging all French to download the relaunched app as a “supplementary health barrier gesture” to protect them from the virus.
Le Gouvernement lance aujourd’hui la nouvelle application #TousAntiCovid.
Comme moi, je vous invite tous à la télécharger.
Plus nous serons nombreux à l’avoir sur nos téléphones, plus elle sera efficace.
• iOS → https://t.co/Ux4mulfxtX
• Android → https://t.co/hd2vKasl5U pic.twitter.com/cBAlqZ0z2L
— Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) October 22, 2020
It is available now in the app store for android and iPhones under the name TousAntiCovid (everyone against covid). People who had already downloaded the old app can update it to the new version.
The new app works in the same way as the old one, using bluetooth so you will need to ensure your bluetooth connection is turned on. The government says the use of bluetooth provides privacy protection as the app cannot know users' details and does not track their location.
If you test positive for Covid, you upload your results to the app and if you have been in contact with another app-user who has tested positive, the app will send you an alert, along with a QR code to use at the testing centre.
The new app, however, has added some extra information and gives regular updates of the latest Covid-19 data in France.
It also includes a couple of helpful extra features such as a direct link to the government site that shows the nearest testing centres to your location and a link to the attestation that you will need for trips out at night if you live in a curfew zone.
You can also follow the link to the government site that gives the latest detailed breakdown of the situation in the area where you live.
The app is available in English in most sections, apart from the 'latest news' section with is in French.
The relaunch comes as the health situation in France continues to deteriorate, with the country reporting a new record of 41,622 new cases on Thursday and 165 deaths.