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The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 16 July 2020

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Businesses in central Auckland say few people who actually use the contact tracing app. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

COVID-19 Tracing Apps: Worth It? Or Waste Of Time?

Security (Health) // BLUF: Residents of New Zealand's (NZ) biggest city of Auckland are reportedly showing very little interest in the government's COVID-19 tracing app.

Businesses are reporting a low usage when it comes to customers scanning QR codes, while Radio New Zealand (RNZ) took to the streets to question people on it, of whom one person in turn questioned the need for it there is no community transmission of COVID-19 cases.

With cases rising again in NZ, many of which are due to people arriving from countries with high infection rates, the government is warning that it may make it compulsory for businesses to implement contact tracing.

With NZ previously being one of the global darlings of pandemic management thanks to a strict lockdown of residents and the closing of many businesses, poor quarantine procedures through the border and negligent security at quarantine hotels has meant the the wheels have quickly fallen off of NZ's much lauded effort and sacrifice.

(See Point 5 Below)

The Daily Quick-Look for 16 July 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, CHINA - Security/Political: White House says Trump has not ruled out sanctions on Chinese officials

FYSA: President Donald Trump has not ruled out additional sanctions on top Chinese officials as a result of actions he took on Tuesday to punish China for its handling of Hong Kong, a White House National Security Council spokesman said on Wednesday. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which Trump signed on Tuesday, allows him to impose sanctions and visa restrictions on Chinese officials and financial institutions involved in the imposition of China’s new national security law in Hong Kong. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. RUSSIA - Political: Over 140 detained after anti-Putin protest in Moscow

FYSA: Russian police detained over 140 people including a high-profile Moscow deputy after Kremlin critics protested Wednesday against changes to the constitution, the OVD-Info monitor said. The group, which tracks arrests at political protests, said 142 people were detained Wednesday evening. Many people including journalists were put in police vehicles, AFP correspondents said from the scene. n AFP journalist was also briefly detained. Yulia Galyamina, a prominent Moscow city councillor who has spearheaded a campaign against President Vladimir Putin's controversial changes to the constitution, was among those detained together with her daughter, she said on Facebook. The constitutional changes could see President Vladimir Putin stay in power for another 16 years. (Bangkok Post. See link in heading for further reading)

3. NORTH KOREA, UNITED STATES - Political: Trump only wants North Korea summit if real progress possible: Pompeo

FYSA: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to pour cold water on Wednesday on the possibility of another U.S. summit with North Korea, saying the U.S. election was approaching and President Donald Trump only wanted to engage if there was likelihood of real progress. Pompeo also told a livestreamed interview with The Hill that the North Koreans had “chosen at this point in time not to engage in a way that can lead to a potential solution.” Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said last week that another summit between him and Trump was unlikely this year, but “a surprise thing may still happen.” (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

4. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health): Victorians warned avoiding a stage 4 coronavirus lockdown is in their hands

FYSA: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews hasn’t ruled out moving the state to stage 4 restrictions if new cases of coronavirus continue to rise. There were 317 new infections detected in the past 24 hours, representing the largest single day increase of any state or territory since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The sombre figure comes one week after Greater Melbourne re-entered a stage 3 lockdown, providing just four reasons for people to leave their homes, and Mr Andrews warned that tougher restrictions could be introduced. (News.com.au. See link in heading for further reading)

5. NEW ZEALAND - Security (Health): Aucklanders question use of Covid-19 tracing app: 'Why would we scan it?'

FYSA: The government has renewed its call for New Zealanders to use the NZ Covid Tracer app, even indicating it may force businesses to display the QR code for customers to scan. The number of people who have downloaded the app appears to have stalled, with 596,000 having installed it on their phones as of yesterday, just 5000 more downloads than the same time last week. RNZ spoke to people in central Auckland about whether they are using the app, and almost all were a bit blasé about it. "I'm aware of it but I haven't downloaded it," said one man. "I just don't see the need to at the moment." After initially being meticulous about using the app, one woman said her contact tracing standards had slipped in recent weeks. "I know there's no community transmission so I probably don't do it as much as I should." The newly minted leader of the opposition, Judith Collins, was similarly unimpressed. "I tried to use it about two weeks ago and then I thought, come on, I couldn't even make it work," she told reporters. (RNZ. See link in heading for further reading)

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