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Melbourne woman panics after confusing COVIDSafe app message

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 28/04/2020 Chanel Zagon

Confusion and privacy concerns have grown over the federal government's COVIDSafe app, with one Melbourne woman saying a puzzling message led her to believe she had contracted the virus.

Mother-of-two Holly Donovan from Frankston panicked when she thought the app had diagnosed her with coronavirus.

The message "You have tested positive for COVID-19" appeared when she tapped the button "has a heath official asked you to upload your data?".

a hand holding a cell phone: The Australian Government's new voluntary coronavirus tracing app 'COVIDSafe' is seen on a mobile phone. © AAP Image/Scott Barbour The Australian Government's new voluntary coronavirus tracing app 'COVIDSafe' is seen on a mobile phone.

It is not meant to tell users they have coronavirus, but instead ask them to confirm they have tested positive.

"I got a shock and then I thought people should know about this, because some people would get really panicky and go oh god I've got it," she told 9News.

It comes after a hoax text message was sent out to some users yesterday, which warned they had been detected too far from their homes.

a screenshot of a cell phone: A hoax message 'from COVIDSafe app' claims to track users, after concerns about privacy were raised. © Supplied A hoax message 'from COVIDSafe app' claims to track users, after concerns about privacy were raised.

But Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt made no apologies over the confusing design today.

About 2.44 million Australians have already downloaded and registered with the government's COVIDSafe app.

The app, which uses Bluetooth to record whether or not a user has come in close contact with coronavirus patients, would be at its best if 40 per cent of the population signed up.

a close up of a device: The COVIDSafe app. © Today The COVIDSafe app.

"Once you download and register for CovidSafe, the app uses Bluetooth to scan for nearby users. When you spend more than 15 minutes with someone, the app will record the time, date and that person's details - the location is not recorded," Mr Hunt said.

"The data is saved in your phone for 21 days. And is only shared with your consent, after you tell the app you've tested positive."

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