The Spanish government tracking app ‘Radar Covid’, which cost almost 2 million euros to develop, has tracked fewer cases throughout the whole pandemic than what omicron causes in a day.
As the number of COVID infections continues to rise to historic levels due to the omicron variant, which is more contagious than previous variants, one of the Spanish government’s projects to detect and control outbreaks has fallen flat.
In August 2020, Pedro Sánchez introduced the Radar Covid app to the public, which had the objective of allowing citizens to record their positive test results and then notifying their close contacts.
Cataluña and Madrid did not approve Radar Covid until October 2020, almost two months later than the other autonomous communities.
However, the hope of reducing the number of positives thanks to the application has vanished. According to official records from the app, 96,586 people in Spain have notified their positive tests results using the app since 19 August 2021. This is a meagre number compared with the number of people who downloaded the app, around 8.2 million.
These numbers are also ridiculous when compared to the current context. Thanks to the omicron variant, more than 100,000 cases a day were recorded over the last week. This means that the government app has not even managed to detect the number of cases detected in a single day in the sixth wave.
Indra, the company in which the state is heavily invested, was assigned the responsibility of developing Radar Covid. The company implemented the new technology without advertising for a total of 330,537.5 euros.
At the end of 2020, the Spanish government rewarded Indra with almost two million euros for the maintenance, support and development of the tracking app over 24 months. The Ministry of Economic Affairs argued that Indra was the ideal company for the job as it was “the only company that can respond immediately and provide the service in the necessary timeframe”.
“Technology can save lives”, said Pedro Sánchez at the presentation of the app. Months later, he recognised that the result had not been as hoped.
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