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Digital contact tracing: Bonn relies on "IRIS" as a model city

Falling infection figures currently give hope that the infection protection measures currently in place will soon be reduced. To ensure that the health department of the city of Bonn is as well prepared as possible for upcoming opening steps and an associated increase in social contacts, intensive work has been done in recent weeks and months on a solution to connect the contact tracking apps available on the market as comprehensively as possible.

The top priority for the city administration when it comes to "digital contact tracing" is the smooth transfer of contact and infection data from as many digital solutions as possible to the Bonn public health department, with as few media breaks as possible, in order to interrupt infection chains quickly and effectively.

The city of Bonn has therefore opted for an open, pluralistic approach to digital networking of the various contact tracking apps and the implementation of the so-called IRIS gateway. 

Start expected end of May

The "IRIS" project is being implemented by the non-profit Björn Steiger Foundation, the Innovation Network, and the "We for Digitalization" initiative, consisting of more than 60 contact tracking app providers. In order to actively contribute to early completion in this project, the city, represented by an employee of the administration's own IT department, is actively supporting the development of the IRIS gateway. At the same time, Bonn will be one of currently three model cities in NRW, thus creating good conditions for an early rollout in the Bonn health department. Digital contact tracking is expected to begin at the end of May.

The IRIS gateway acts as a "bridge" between about 60 contact tracking apps and the health departments by transmitting the data from these apps to the health departments in a usable format upon request. 

In addition, IRIS offers citizens the option of transferring their personal contacts from an app with a contact diary function directly to the health office via IRIS.

Advantages for trade, commerce and health offices

IRIS thus makes data from the more than 60 contact-tracking apps available to health departments. As a result, commercial or retail businesses do not have to adapt to a specific, potentially costly solution because the local health department can only take data from that one app into their system. Instead, they have a "free hand" in selecting which contact tracking solution is right for their area of responsibility - it is only recommended that the selected solution is compatible with IRIS. Furthermore, neither the cities nor the app providers need to develop different, individual solutions for data transfer to the specialized application used in the health offices.

To ensure that data from apps that are not connected to the IRIS gateway can still be transferred to the public health department, the municipal IT department has developed a solution using specially designed online forms. This allows users of the apps to send the contact data collected directly to the health department, while complying with data protection regulations. 

For the registration of contacts in its service buildings, the city administration is currently in the process of examining which app may be suitable for use, and will provide information on the procedure associated with a launch when visiting the administration in due course. 

The city also maintains a regular exchange with Deutsche Telekom as part of the development team behind the Corona Warn app, local businesses and academia, and municipalities in the Cologne Bonn region to keep abreast of the latest innovations in the field of digital contact tracking.

Translated with deepl.com translator (free version)

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