Several months behind schedule, the Dutch coronavirus app goes nationwide

The CoronaMelder in action. Photo: Koen van Weel
The CoronaMelder in action. Photo: Koen van Weel

The Dutch coronavirus tracing app was introduced across the country on Saturday, following last week’s senate vote in favour of using the alert-based system.

The CoronaMelder app, first mooted in early April, will warn users if they have spent 15 minutes or more in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus – as long as they have allowed that information to be used.

It will not be compulsory to use the app, which works by exchanging random codes with other phones via Bluetooth technology.

The app has been available for download since mid August and was already operational in five of the 25 regional health districts.


Health minister Hugo de Jonge commissioned the app to trace the spread of coronavirus in the wake of flopped efforts to fast-track the process in a weekend event in mid April and testing first started in June.

The CoronaMelder had been due to go live on September 1, but that was cancelled because the emergency law authorising its use had not gone through parliament.

The app is available in English as well as Dutch and there is information about how it works in a number of other languages online, including German, Polish and Turkish.

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