The government spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that the government will not prioritize PCR testing for people who have simply installed the StopCovid application. On the other hand, if they are detected as “contact cases” by the software, they will indeed have priority.
Will installing StopCovid soon be enough to have priority access to PCR tests? This surprising idea was reportedly considered in defense by the government on September 11, according to the newspaper L’Opinion. The goal was to encourage the French to use this application supposed to help stem the epidemic, but which had a complete flop.
This hypothesis has been taken up by many media in recent days, as monstrous queues are forming in the covid drives of all the major cities. But Gabriel Attal, the government spokesperson, put an end to the rumors on Wednesday, saying that this track is “not on the agenda”. It should already be known that making simple users of StopCovid a priority for coronavirus tests would have been potentially illegal. Indeed, consent to its use, scrutinized by the National Commission for Informatics and Freedom (Cnil), must be obtained without pressure on the user. Several members of the majority had protested against this possibility.
During the debate on StopCovid, I opposed its deployment. I feared in particular the questioning of volunteering, the social pressure exerted.
Like the application, privileged access to the test should be rejected. https://t.co/jXxesA0qAI
– Sacha Houlié (@SachaHoulie) September 15, 2020
2.5 million downloads only
What the government actually plans to do, according to BFMTV, it is to treat the “contact cases” detected thanks to the application such as those identified by the Health Insurance via the town doctors, hospitals and tracing brigades. These “contact cases” have in fact already been a priority for a few days over people without a prescription, asymptomatic or who carry out “precautionary” tests.
The government spokesperson also specified that the StopCovid application, criticized for its management of personal data and its intrusive side, has only been downloaded 2.5 million times (4.5% of the population) since its launch in June. Only 180 notifications were sent to people who encountered positive cases. “We believe in StopCovid. The app did not find its audience. That does not mean that we have to give it up, ”he assured. However, according to experts in epidemiology, it is necessary that 60% of the general population install it for it to have a real health utility.
The acceleration of screening, now bottled up across the country, will surely come instead from the launch of “antigenic tests”, much faster, which will be deployed from next month. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran must provide details on this point during a speech Thursday at the end of the day.