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A new “game changing” app released worldwide today aims to detect whether someone has Covid-19 before they develop symptoms.

The app- dubbed ëlarm – has been created in New Zealand and Act leader David Seymour plans to push for Government support in Parliament next week.

Paul O’Connor, founding director of Datamine, the company that created the app, said the aim of the app is to overcome one of the greatest obstacles to protecting our communities from the virus – that it’s spread by people who don’t know they’re infected.

“Covid-19 puts a viral load on the body three or four days before any external symptoms kick in, which means the body is in distress before you know it.

“Unknowingly a person could be infecting their vulnerable loved ones, and many others they come into contact with.”

So, how does it work?


The app only works with a wearable device such as a Fitbit, an Apple watch or similar.

Through the device, the app measures several indicators – such as resting heart rate, active heart rate, heart rate variability, recovery rates, oxygen saturation and body temperature – and records any changes.

From each individual device, the data flows to ëlarm’s clinically developed models to identify the likely early stages of a Covid-19 infection, which could be days before the person knows they are sick.

If symptoms match the early stages of a Covid 19 infection, the user is alerted and further health checks are recommended, in line with World Health Organisation guidelines. The app does not provide treatment suggestions.

Ashley Bloomfield, director-general of health, said he wasn’t aware of the app nor has the ministry been approached about it, however, as with other new tech solutions, they’d been engaging with companies creating solutions for Covid-19 and would continue to do this.

“We have confidence in the NZ Covid Tracer app to help us in the fight against Covid-19.”


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