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QR codes are for "COVID only": Stevens rejects Spurrier's extension call


Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has rejected a notion floated by the state’s chief public health officer to retain the use of QR codes once the coronavirus pandemic subsides, insisting the check-in system is “simply and solely for the management of COVID-19”.

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Professor Nicola Spurrier yesterday suggested contact tracing efforts would be aided if the QR code system was extended permanently, telling the Sunday Mail: “You can imagine, if and when COVID resolves, it would be hard to convince people to have the energy to keep scanning in but certainly it is a total game changer for our contact tracers.”

But Stevens, the state’s emergency coordinator during the pandemic, firmly rejected such a suggestion today, telling media: “My commitment, based on information I’ve received, is that QR codes are in place simply and solely for the management of COVID-19.”

“When they’re no longer required for COVID-19 there will be no requirement for people in SA to check in and use the system for entertainment, business and other activities,” he said.

“This is for the pandemic.”

He acknowledged now that the technology had been rolled out successfully “we could institute the same sort of system” if required in the future, but ruled out extending the current requirement “beyond any necessary period that’s related to COVID-19”.

He said he understood Spurrier’s comments to be noting that ongoing QR codes “would be nice to have in supporting contract tracing efforts for any health issue in the community”.

“I couldn’t dispute that, but QR codes for COVID are for COVID only and they’ll stop when we don’t need them,” he said.

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