Here are answers to some of the common questions regarding the use of recently released Koronavilkku app.

Photograph: The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)

The Koronavilkku app was released on August 31 to help break infection chains in the coronavirus pandemic. At this writing, it has been downloaded 1.5 million times.

Through the app, people exposed to the virus can be reached and infection chains can possibly be stopped faster.

The app available for Android 6 and later and for iPhones running iOS 13.5 or higher is free of charge, but currently available only in Finnish and Swedish. English version will be available later in the autumn.

To help you understand the application, we have gathered answers to questions regarding its use, including concerns over privacy, batter drainage and false alerts.

Does the application collect and store user data?

Aleksi Yrttiaho, head of the unit of technical issues at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), said that it doesn’t spy on its users. “At least, authorities will not receive any data or information,” he said.

What are the advantages of using a Finnish application?

The application operates under the Finnish legislation in cooperation with the health care professionals. It gives instructions on how to contact health authorities and what to do should one have been subjected to the virus.

Will it drain my battery?

According to tests, the battery drain is about 3–10% in relation to everyday use.

How does the exposure notification process work?

The person who has been tested positive for the coronavirus will receive a unique code from a health care professional. This code will be entered into the application. This secure process is designed to verify that the reported coronavirus infection is real.

The user will receive a notification of a possible exposure with a delay. The notification is sent after a coronavirus infection has been confirmed and the data has been sent to Kela’s servers. After that, the application will search through the timeline for any possible encounters with people who have installed the application on their phones. They will be notified.

In case of possible exposure, the application will recommend a two-week voluntary quarantine.

Is there a risk of receiving false alerts of exposure?

In some cases, false alerts could be possible but most of the time not likely. Finnish daily Turun Sanomat reported that one possible false alert of a coronavirus exposure could occur if an infected person would be traveling in a nearby car and the phone signals would interact

About the application:

Koronavilkku app has been implemented by the software company Solita. In addition to THL, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Kela and SoteDigi Oy took part in its development with each other.

Sources: Koronavilkku.fi website, THL, Aleksi Yrttiaho, head of the unit of technical issues at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) – Interview with MTV3 news, Turun Sanomat.