“Low risk,” says the Corona app. What does this mean?  

Experienced on an ICE train: Two older ladies get on and sit down in the next row. They’re wearing elegant face shields and take out their new smartphones. Their grandchildren downloaded the Corona-Warn-App for them, they explain each other. One of them says, “low risk.” The other one replies, “low risk as well, see!” Relieved, they take off their shields and take a bottle of prosecco out of their purses.

Something is not right here, but what? The two women are mistaken on two things:

  1. On all trains, there is a requirement to wear a mouth and nose covering. The women are therefore not allowed to take off their masks, just because they feel safe. By wearing a mask, they are protecting other people, by not infecting others in case they are infected without knowing themselves.
  2. And they are not safe either. “Low risk” means that the app has not registered an infected person in close proximity to them lately. However, that does not mean that there can’t be an infected person in close proximity to them now, who does not yet know they are infected.

What does it mean, if the app reports “increased risk” instead of “low risk”? It means that over the last 14 days, one has been in proximity with at least one person who has been tested positive for the virus. Additional to the warning, one receives information about how to act. Go home and contact your family doctor, the medical on-call service (phone: 116117) or the health department. After this, further steps will be discussed.

Your own phone does not know who the infected person is. It only knows that it was in close proximity to another phone, on which a positive test result was reported.

On a side note, drinking prosecco on the train is not forbidden, even in corona-times. However, it isn’t advisable either. It’s better to be careful!

More information about the app and how it works: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/corona-warn-app

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Impressionen zum Leben in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie: Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL; Mostafa Elyasian, 01.11.2020

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