What is Rock Safe? What you need to know about the contact tracing protocol which will begin next month

Rock Safe is a contact tracing protocol currently being trialled at three locations in Alofi, at the Niuefoou hospital, Central service station and at the Telecom Niue customer service desk at the Commercial Centre.

Gaylene Tasmania, the Director General of Health and the Ministry of Social Services explains that this is not just an app but rather a protocol because of the information and database and all the behind the scenes work that goes with the app itself.

Tasmania told BCN news that initially they had asked if the contact tracing app used in New Zealand could be used here but that was not possible which then led them to Cook Safe.

“Cook Safe is something the Cook Islands had already trialled and rolled out, developed by the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce, so we got in touch and right now the trial in Niue.”

“We are rebranding Cook Safe to Rock Safe and it’s a partnership between the Health Department (Ministry of Social Services), the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce and Telecom Niue because they have the network that would drive this”.

Tasmania says that this Rock Safe protocol is one of many requirements in preparation for quarantine free travel and fully funded by the government of Niue.

Each person will be issued with a QR code and when visiting various public venues on the island, they will be required to tap the code to a terminal located at the businesses, government departments and any public venues.

She says that Rock Safe is a more versatile contact tracing protocol because people especially the elderly will be able to use it and not limited to those with mobile phones.

The government is calling for community support and collaboration to ensure that we remain vigilant to the control and managing COVID 19 by getting used to these new practices so that when borders do open up, the people are already familiar with the protocol.

The message from the government is that Rock Safe is not about tracking peoples’ movements.

Gaylene Tasmania says “The message we’d like people to understand is that this is not about us finding out where you’re at during a particular time. We don’t need to know that you’ve been at a bar for how many hours. We just need to know that if someone came to hospital and was confirmed as having COVID 19, we can look at where that person had been and others who have been around that premises or proximity around the time that infected person was at, then we come to you directly.”

“This is about getting information that we can use to strengthen our contact tracing protocols”.

Rock Safe contact tracing protocol will be rolled out around the island next month in March.

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