Paris: French lawmakers will vote next week on allowing contact tracing via mobile phones as the government prepares for a gradual lifting of coronavirus confinement orders from May 11.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe agreed to hold the vote, which will take place after a National Assembly debate, amid widespread worries about privacy breaches from the unprecedented data-tracking initiative for France, a parliamentary source told AFP on Tuesday.
Most MPs are in lockdown, though about 75 of them are expected to appear in person for the debates beginning next Tuesday.
France’s CNIL privacy watchdog will also weigh in on the tracking proposal, which would see cellphone users voluntarily download an app to track their movements and alert them if they come into contact with an infected person.
Health experts say such technology, already used in some Asian countries, is needed to avert a new surge in COVID-19 cases once people are allowed to leave their homes more freely and some schools and businesses reopen.
A study released Tuesday by France’s Pasteur Institute estimated that by May 11, only six percent of France’s population will have been exposed to the new coronavirus, meaning that most of the population carry no immunity, and will remain at risk of infection.
“For collective immunity to be effective in avoiding a second wave, we’d have to have immunisation for 70 percent of the population. We’re well below this,” the study’s lead author, Simon Cauchemez told AFP.