Thursday, 08 October 2020 14:22

Victorians shy away from installing the COVIDSafe tracking app

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Only 56% of Victorians have the COVIDSafe ‘tracking app’ on their phone more than five months after the app was launched by the Federal Government in late April and as the State continues in lockdown with stage 4 restrictions.

According to a Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey on Victoria’s Stage 4 restrictions, those with the COVIDSafe app are more likely to say they would feel safe visiting a shopping centre if everyone was required to have the app. (55% vs 20% of those without the app).

But, only 22% of Victorians believe that a person should be refused entry into a shopping centre if they refuse to have the ‘tracking app’ on their phone.

This contrasts strongly with Victorian views on masks and temperature checks, with 90% of Victorians saying people not wearing a mask should be refused entry to a shopping centre and 87% saying people who refuse a temperature check should also be refused entry.

“The real value of the COVIDSafe app depends on everyone having it on their phone. This poll suggests that there is a way to go before those without the app see value in it – for them,” says Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan.

“In terms of the 5km travel limit only 42% of Victorians say Melburnians should be able to travel more than 5km from their home to visit a shopping centre if they have the COVIDSafe app on their phone.

“Victorians are in almost unanimous support of refusing entry to shopping centres to people who aren’t wearing a mask or refuse to take a temperature check upon entry.

“However, only 22% of Victorians believe someone should be refused entry to a shopping centre if they don’t have the COVIDSafe app on their phone.”

Levine said: “Only a slim majority of 56% of Victorians have the COVIDSafe app installed on their phones with the highest penetration amongst L-NP supporters (67%) and older Victorians aged 65+ (65%). Unsurprisingly it is these same demographic groups that are most likely to say they would feel safe going to shopping centres if they knew everyone there also had the COVIDSafe app on their phones”.

“Looking at other key demographics shows only slim majorities of people aged under 50 (54%), ALP supporters (54%) or Greens supporters (56%) have the COVIDSafe app on their phones – and this is more than five months after the app was launched in late April with heavy initial take-up by millions of Australians.

“The issues Victoria has faced with contact tracing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Victorian community are well-known. The fact is Victoria can’t possibly stop the spread of COVID-19 unless a great majority of people have the COVIDSafe App on their phone.

“The Victorian Government needs to mandate that visitors to shopping centres – and this includes WORKERS at the shopping centres who are travelling much further than 5km to get there – MUST HAVE the COVIDSafe app installed on their phones as a condition of working or visiting the shopping centre.

“The effective response of the NSW Government to the second wave of COVID-19 in July and August shows with smart policies and innovative use of the technology available to Government a low level of spread can successfully be suppressed.

“During much of August NSW had a higher two week average of new local cases of COVID-19 and a greater number of Active Cases of the virus in the community than Victoria has now and was able to successfully suppress the spread of the virus without resorting to a damaging lockdown,” Levine said..

Victorians surveyed were asked three of the following questions to determine their attitudes towards the Stage 4 directives and the COVIDSafe ‘tracking app’ and how they relate to visiting shopping centres:

  • Question 1: “Would you feel safe going to a shopping centre if you knew everyone entering the shopping centre, for any reason, had the COVIDSafe 'tracking app' on their phone, or not?” Yes 38% cf. No 62%.
  • Question 2: “Melbourne people are not allowed to travel more than 5km from their home. Should Melburnians be allowed to travel more than 5km to visit a shopping centre if everyone entering that shopping centre, for any reason, has the COVIDSafe 'tracking app' on their phone?” Yes 42% cf. No 58%.
  • Question 3: “Do you have the COVIDSafe 'tracking app' on your phone or not?” Yes 56% cf. No 44%.
  • Question 4: “In Victoria it is now compulsory to wear a face mask when leaving home. If a person is not wearing a mask should they be refused entry into a shopping centre, or not?” Yes 90% cf. No 10%.
  • Question 5: “If a person refuses to have their temperature checked when entering a shopping centre should they be refused entry, or not?” Yes 87% cf. No 13%.
  • Question 6: “If a person refuses to have a 'tracking app' on their phone when entering a shopping centre should they be refused entry, or not?” Yes 22% cf. No 78%.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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