Among the most popular apps is the one developed in Germany, which has been downloaded 18 million times in a country of 83 million. So far an estimated 3,700 people in Germany have confirmed in the app that they tested positive, alerting other users they were in close contact with over the previous fortnight that they might have been exposed.
Getting apps to work across borders has posed a headache because of differing national data protection rules and tracing systems in place. But officials say that the large number of people traveling across the EU for work and leisure makes communication across national apps essential.
“Travel and personal exchange are the core of the European project and the single market,” Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for the single market, said in a statement. “The gateway will facilitate this in these times of pandemic and will save lives.”
Operators hope the gateway, consisting of a server located in Luxembourg, will be fully functional next month.
Other countries that use the same decentralized system for their apps — designed to ensure maximum user privacy — will be able to join later. France, which has opted for a system where data is stored centrally, will likely not become part of the network.
Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak