Smittestop: Denmark launches English version of Covid-19 contact tracing app

An English-language version of Denmark’s Covid-19 tracing app Smittestop is now available.

Smittestop: Denmark launches English version of Covid-19 contact tracing app
A file photo of the Danish version of the Smittestop app. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's Covid-19 tracking app Smittestop is now available in English. The app can be downloaded in English and Danish via the App Store and Google Play.     

The app notifies other users of the app that have been in close proximity if a user registers a positive coronavirus test. That enables it to let people know if they have been potentially exposed without any personal communication.

English-language resources explaining the app and how to use and download it can be found here.

The Danish version of the app was released in June and was downloaded by 245,000 people on its first day. That was reported to have increased to almost 1.4 million by September, with 400 people having logged in to the app to register that they had been infected.

Smittestop was developed using Apple and Google tech designed to protect personal data.

“The purpose of the Smittestop app is to help people stop the spread of Covid-19 by stopping the infection chain. If infected, you can choose to let the App notify other app-users who have been in close proximity to you. Similarly, the app can inform you as user if you have been in close contact with another user who is infected,” the Ministry of Health said in written information provided to press.

“The positive effects of the app have already been documented, and we know that the app has been an important factor in stopping the transmission in Denmark,” the Ministry said.

A short guide on how to use the app is also available in eleven other languages: in Arabic, Polish, Turkish, Urdu, English, Greenlandic, Faroese, Kurdish, Farsi, Somali and Tigrinya. The guides can be found here.

“Unlike manual contagion tracing, the app allows you to contact unknown persons, such as people you pass by on public transport or grocery shopping, and let them know they are at risk of infection,” the Ministry of Health states.  

Smittestop works via Bluetooth. Its use requires nothing more than download and activation of the app.

“It is voluntary to use the app, but the more who download and activate it, the better the app can help us stop the transmission of Covid-19. Be aware that the app only works on newer operating systems of certain smartphones,” the ministry notes.

READ ALSO: Which European countries' coronavirus phone apps have had the most success?

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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”