On Sunday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced some new tech initiatives to help keep Australians informed about the current state of COVID-19. One of these was a coronavirus app – but it’s really hard to find on Android.
The app itself, simply called ‘Coronavirus Australia’, provides largely the same advice and information as the dedicated coronavirus page on the federal government’s health site. This includes current stats, information on symptoms and advice for people who at considered ‘at risk’.
Morrison announced the new app at the start of an almost-hour-long press conference, stating that it was available on the “Apple app store.”
“Aus.gov.au/whatsapp and the Coronavirus app – you can simply do that by going the app store – I did it this morning, I just typed in, search on Coronavirus, and the Australian Government app came right up, and downloaded it, and the information is there for people to get access to it,” said Morrison.
While the app is live for Android users, the app at the time of writing doesn’t surface when searching “coronavirus” or “coronavirus australia”. At the time of writing the only search result for this is the World Health Organization’s ‘Open Who’ app.
The Prime Minister was adamant in the conference about how important it was to get information to Australians.
In reference to the app, Morrison said “It is providing further information, more resources and a trusted place of advice and information that you and your family and your business can use to understand the decisions and information that is available to everybody.”
Unfortunately, it’s a little harder for Android users at the moment.
“The app was submitted to both the Apple and Google at the same time and we hope Google makes it available quickly and clearly on Google Play,” said an Australian government spokesperson in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Google locally for comment.
Where to get the Australian Government’s official Android Coronavirus app
Morrison also announced a dedicated WhatsApp channel for coronavirus information similar to what the United Kingdom and the World Health Organization (WHO) had previous established.
You can join the channel by clicking on this link and hitting the ‘send’ button’.
Once you get the first message from ‘The Australian Government’ in WhatsApp hit send on the pre-written message and you will receive a welcome message and options for information you may want to access.
This article has been updated to include comment from the Australian government.
It’s been a disorientating week for Australia. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. New restrictions are introduced daily, often late at night where people can easily miss them. The government advocates for social distancing and staying at home, yet insist schools are still safe. And with millions of Australians (the fortunate ones) working from home, our tech infrastructure is strained. We’re not really thinking about how tech can be used to help flatten the curve when government websites don’t work, telcos are struggling and Netflix slashed its bitrate to help fight speed issues. But some countries are doing better than others.