French Covid app relaunches to bumpy start

Published
Image source, TousAntiCovid

France has launched a new version of its troubled Covid-tracing app to a rough start plagued by server issues.

Renamed as "TousAntiCovid" - Everyone Against Covid - it is an update to the StopCovid app, which was never widely adopted among the population.

The new version was downloaded more than 500,000 times in the hours following its launch.

But that surge in popularity led to stability issues, with many unable to activate the app.

Only about 2.5 million people have downloaded the app since its initial launch in June - with even Prime Minister Jean Castex admitting he had not done so.

The relative boom in download numbers remains smaller than other countries' apps. The NHS Covid-19 app for England and Wales, for example, was downloaded more than one million times in its first 24 hours.

Media caption,
WATCH: What is contact tracing and how does it work?

The new version of the app launched as France extended its overnight curfews, with Mr Castex declaring that "the second wave is now under way".

The country announced 41,622 new cases - a national record since the pandemic began.

Teething troubles

TousAntiCovid was revealed in a surprise announcement by Mr Castex on morning television, 10 days before its release.

It was made available for download on Thursday evening and topped the national Apple app store chart for free apps - but quickly suffered from teething issues.

French users posting on social media reported not being able to access the app, being stuck on its home page, missing text or text in English rather than French. Others were unable to activate the app, getting error messages.

France's digital minister Cedric O told television station France 2 on Friday morning that the issues were caused by a flood of too many people using the system at once - but claimed the problem had been fixed overnight.

Health officials are characterising the rebranded app as an "enriched" version of the original StopCovid app.

The update has new visuals, an "information centre" with statistics news about local measures, and integration with services such as travel certificates used to move around areas affected by curfews.

French officials are planning to add a QR-scanning system for restaurants and other venues, similar to the system used by the NHS app and others, to help keep a record for contact tracing.

data in detail

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*Deaths per 100,000 people

US 986,953 300.7 80,459,923
Brazil 662,964 314.1 30,355,919
India 522,223 38.2 43,060,086
Russia 367,521 254.6 17,880,154
Mexico 324,134 254.1 5,733,925
Peru 212,761 654.4 3,561,677
UK 173,693 259.9 21,978,198
Italy 162,781 270.0 16,161,339
Indonesia 156,133 57.7 6,044,467
France 142,074 211.9 27,567,552
Iran 140,996 170.1 7,217,117
Colombia 139,780 277.7 6,091,551
Germany 134,489 161.8 24,337,394
Argentina 128,542 286.0 9,072,230
Poland 115,948 305.4 5,991,464
Ukraine 112,459 253.4 5,040,518
Spain 103,908 220.7 11,786,036
South Africa 100,333 171.3 3,764,865
Turkey 98,706 118.3 15,021,151
Romania 65,428 338.0 2,888,639
Philippines 60,194 55.7 3,684,712
Chile 57,376 302.7 3,547,977
Hungary 46,101 471.9 1,894,278
Vietnam 43,021 44.6 10,571,772
Czech Republic 40,102 375.8 3,898,406
Canada 38,893 103.5 3,720,853
Bulgaria 36,856 528.3 1,153,506
Ecuador 35,581 204.8 868,285
Malaysia 35,507 111.1 4,433,551
Belgium 31,319 272.7 4,015,791
Pakistan 30,369 14.0 1,527,956
Japan 29,344 23.2 7,681,363
Bangladesh 29,127 17.9 1,952,583
Greece 28,933 270.0 3,285,970
Tunisia 28,533 244.0 1,039,532
Thailand 28,019 40.2 4,194,684
Iraq 25,207 64.1 2,324,384
Egypt 24,613 24.5 515,645
Netherlands 22,248 128.4 8,124,691
South Korea 22,243 43.0 17,009,865
Portugal 22,162 215.8 3,791,744
Bolivia 21,908 190.3 904,479
Slovakia 19,852 364.0 2,521,279
Myanmar 19,434 36.0 612,770
Kazakhstan 19,013 102.7 1,394,367
Paraguay 18,795 266.8 649,034
Sweden 18,689 181.7 2,498,388
Austria 18,054 203.4 4,108,970
Guatemala 17,525 105.5 842,653
Georgia 16,800 451.6 1,654,313
Sri Lanka 16,502 75.7 663,195
Morocco 16,066 44.1 1,164,717
Serbia 15,960 229.8 2,002,353
Croatia 15,790 388.2 1,117,822
Bosnia and Herzegovina 15,762 477.5 376,841
Jordan 14,059 139.2 1,695,432
China 14,043 1.0 2,041,627
Switzerland 13,684 159.6 3,596,855
Nepal 11,951 41.8 978,762
Moldova 11,489 432.3 516,986
Honduras 10,893 111.8 422,469
Israel 10,673 117.9 4,062,271
Lebanon 10,378 151.4 1,096,462
Azerbaijan 9,707 96.8 792,496
North Macedonia 9,276 445.2 309,208
Saudi Arabia 9,079 26.5 753,526
Lithuania 9,072 325.5 1,054,874
Armenia 8,622 291.5 422,828
Cuba 8,525 75.2 1,101,968
Costa Rica 8,383 166.1 847,784
Panama 8,182 192.7 772,086
Afghanistan 7,683 20.2 178,745
Ethiopia 7,510 6.7 470,442
Uruguay 7,197 207.9 895,775
Australia 7,052 27.8 5,756,791
Ireland 7,016 142.0 1,512,812
Belarus 6,928 73.2 977,962
Algeria 6,875 16.0 265,771
Slovenia 6,582 315.2 1,004,798
Libya 6,429 94.9 501,862
Denmark 6,105 104.9 3,111,002
Latvia 5,744 300.3 817,439
Venezuela 5,706 20.0 522,234
Palestinian Territories 5,657 120.7 656,876
Kenya 5,649 10.7 323,718
Zimbabwe 5,468 37.3 247,598
Sudan 4,930 11.5 62,093
Dominican Republic 4,376 40.7 579,114
Oman 4,258 85.6 389,074
El Salvador 4,128 64.0 162,089
Namibia 4,025 161.4 158,379
Zambia 3,976 22.3 319,316
Trinidad and Tobago 3,816 273.6 145,021
Finland 3,638 65.9 1,000,472
Uganda 3,597 8.1 164,069
Albania 3,496 122.5 274,828
Syria 3,150 18.5 55,799
Nigeria 3,143 1.6 255,685
Kosovo 3,138 174.9 227,984
Cambodia 3,056 18.5 136,230
Kyrgyzstan 2,991 46.3 200,990
Jamaica 2,948 100.0 129,632
Norway 2,871 53.7 1,424,180
Montenegro 2,713 436.1 234,760
Botswana 2,688 116.7 305,859
Malawi 2,633 14.1 85,747
Kuwait 2,555 60.7 631,294
Estonia 2,533 190.9 570,405
United Arab Emirates 2,302 23.6 897,351
Mozambique 2,201 7.2 225,366
Mongolia 2,177 67.5 920,436
Yemen 2,149 7.4 11,818
Senegal 1,967 12.1 85,989
Cameroon 1,927 7.4 119,780
Angola 1,900 6.0 99,287
Uzbekistan 1,637 4.9 238,510
Bahrain 1,475 89.9 566,679
Rwanda 1,459 11.6 129,785
Ghana 1,445 4.8 161,157
Eswatini 1,397 121.7 70,303
Madagascar 1,391 5.2 64,152
Somalia 1,361 8.8 26,485
DR Congo 1,337 1.5 87,023
Singapore 1,331 23.3 1,184,226
Suriname 1,327 228.3 79,302
Guyana 1,228 156.9 63,420
Luxembourg 1,062 171.3 235,276
Cyprus 1,011 84.4 470,481
Mauritius 990 78.2 220,344
Mauritania 982 21.7 58,685
Guadeloupe 942 235.5 147,607
Martinique 918 244.4 150,077
Fiji 862 96.9 64,535
Taiwan 856 3.6 61,686
Haiti 835 7.4 30,640
Tanzania 803 1.4 33,864
Ivory Coast 799 3.1 81,898
Bahamas 789 202.6 33,488
Réunion 742 83.5 374,295
Laos 732 10.2 205,975
Mali 731 3.7 30,752
Lesotho 697 32.8 32,968
Malta 692 137.7 90,773
Qatar 677 23.9 364,300
Belize 676 173.2 57,454
New Zealand 649 13.2 896,495
Papua New Guinea 649 7.4 43,800
French Polynesia 648 232.0 72,678
Guinea 441 3.5 36,540
Cape Verde 401 72.9 56,008
French Guiana 394 135.5 80,422
Barbados 390 135.9 67,934
Congo 385 7.2 24,079
Burkina Faso 383 1.9 20,865
Saint Lucia 368 201.3 23,285
Gambia 365 15.5 11,995
New Caledonia 312 108.4 60,593
Niger 309 1.3 8,916
Gabon 303 13.9 47,597
Maldives 298 56.1 179,171
Liberia 294 6.0 7,432
Curaçao 273 173.3 41,966
Togo 273 3.4 36,979
Nicaragua 233 3.6 18,491
Grenada 220 196.4 14,428
Brunei 218 50.3 141,269
Aruba 212 199.4 34,589
Chad 193 1.2 7,411
Djibouti 189 19.4 15,611
Mayotte 187 70.3 37,038
Equatorial Guinea 183 13.5 15,907
Guinea-Bissau 171 8.9 8,186
Channel Islands 166 96.4 73,609
Seychelles 165 169.0 42,236
Benin 163 1.4 26,952
Comoros 160 18.8 8,105
Andorra 153 198.3 41,013
Solomon Islands 140 20.9 14,182
South Sudan 138 1.2 17,443
Antigua and Barbuda 135 139.0 7,571
Bermuda 131 205.0 13,200
Timor-Leste 130 10.1 22,860
Tajikistan 125 1.3 17,786
Sierra Leone 125 1.6 7,681
Iceland 114 31.6 185,074
San Marino 114 336.7 16,186
Central African Republic 113 2.4 14,649
St Vincent and the Grenadines 106 95.9 8,394
Eritrea 103 2.9 9,734
Gibraltar 102 302.7 17,706
Isle of Man 98 115.9 31,666
Sint Maarten 86 211.1 10,018
Liechtenstein 85 223.6 17,105
Sao Tome and Principe 73 33.9 5,957
Dominica 63 87.7 12,011
Saint Martin 63 165.8 10,316
British Virgin Islands 62 206.5 6,296
Monaco 57 146.3 11,632
Saint Kitts and Nevis 43 81.4 5,562
Burundi 38 0.3 39,632
Turks and Caicos Islands 36 94.3 5,941
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba 34 130.9 9,711
Faroe Islands 28 57.5 34,658
Cayman Islands 27 41.6 21,755
Greenland 21 37.3 11,971
Bhutan 20 2.6 57,909
Samoa 13 6.6 7,185
Vanuatu 13 4.3 6,860
Kiribati 13 11.1 3,080
Diamond Princess cruise ship 13 712
Tonga 11 10.5 9,697
Anguilla 9 60.5 2,731
Wallis and Futuna Islands 7 61.2 454
Saint Barthelemy 6 60.9 4,443
Palau 6 33.3 4,396
Montserrat 2 40.1 207
MS Zaandam cruise ship 2 9
Cook Islands 1 5.7 4,727
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 1 17.2 2,641
Falkland Islands 0 0.0 152
Vatican 0 0.0 29
Marshall Islands 0 0.0 17
Antarctica 0 11
Saint Helena 0 0.0 4
Micronesia 0 0.0 3

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This information is regularly updated but may not reflect the latest totals for each country.

** The past data for new cases is a three day rolling average. Due to revisions in the number of cases, an average cannot be calculated for this date.

Source: Johns Hopkins University and national public health agencies

Figures last updated: 26 April 2022, 09:14 BST

French Broadcaster BFMTV said that including the people who had installed it previously, there were now more than 3.3 million people who had downloaded the app.

That still lags far behind other nations - the England and Wales app has been downloaded more than 18 million times, while Germany's is estimated to have accumulated more than 19 million.

France's app is also different from that used by some of its neighbours. It uses a "centralised" system that sends the data from a phone to government computers to do the contact-matching.

That option was also once considered by the UK because it is thought to be helpful to epidemiologists analysing the data.

However, the more widely-used alternative - doing the matching on phones - is said to be more privacy-focused, which supporters believe could encourage more people to use it.