Coronavirus: how the national call center for the Immuni app works

Immuni is the official contact tracing app of the Italian Government, developed by the Extraordinary Commissioner for the Covid-19 emergency , Domenico Arcuri, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digitization . The App’s task is to warn users who have downloaded and activated it on their smartphone of any exposure to risk, informing them of contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus , even asymptomatic .

The use of the Immune App is on a voluntary basis but doing so could accelerate the return to normal life and a reduction in the hours in front of technological devices, which risk ruining our sight .

Among the activities that we hope to be able to resume as soon as possible, including sports. Due to the possibility of getting infected by doing physical activity, the basic sports associations and clubs are closed and to help them, the Government has allocated a special non- repayable loan .

App Immuni national call center: what is it?

The call center supports anyone who receives, through Immuni , a notification of exposure to Covid-19 and does not know what to do. This is one of the innovations introduced by the Refreshments Decree and published in the Official Gazette , following the entry into force of the Dpcm of October 18, 2020, which made it mandatory for the local health authorities to upload the codes of positive people.

The service responds to one of the most evident critical issues of the app, denounced by most users, namely that of making people feel abandoned to themselves once they have received the message that communicates that a potentially risky meeting has taken place .

Another fundamental tool to counter the spread of the virus, in the case of high-risk encounters, could be an antiviral nasal spray , currently being tested.

A fact that generates enormous worry and stress and which causes the perception of one ‘s energy level to drop .

At the moment, in fact, the arrival of the notice is not followed by any specific indication on what to do, even if the official practice involves contacting your GP who should subsequently take care to provide all the useful information. Not everyone, however, is aware of this and the ineffective communication, combined with the exceptional work that many doctors find themselves carrying out in this period, in some cases made it impossible to dialogue with all those who have needed it.

The toll-free number (800 91 24 91) should finally make up for this lack and represent a direct line between the patient and the health institutions and prevent the people to whom the notification arrives from panicking. This affects both everyday life and sleep, as  dreams seem to have changed due to the pandemic, becoming more and more disturbing and agitated.

Furthermore, it can also be called by those who have not received the notification of Immuni  but have still been in contact with a positive.


The details of the service

In the chapter of the Refreshments Decree dedicated to this improvement it is clearly specified that «The Ministry of Health carries out contact tracing and health surveillance activities as well as information and accompaniment towards the prevention and assistance services of the competent local health companies. To this end, it activates a national telephone and telematic support service for people who have tested positive for the SARS-Cov-2 virus who have had close or casual contact with subjects who have tested positive or who have received an alert notification through the Immuni application, whose data are made accessible to upload the key code in the presence of a positive case ». At the moment the exact date of activation of the call center is not known but it would seem to be a matter of days.

total of 4,000,000 euros have been allocated for the realization of the service, divided as follows: 1,000,000 euros for the remaining months of the year 2020 and 3,000,000 euros for 2021.

Immune: integration with European tracking App

In addition to the activation of the call center , the further improvement of Immuni is the interchangeability with other European contact tracing applications .

The start-up of the call center effectively aligns the tracing system of the Italian virus with that of other European countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom  which, through their respective applications, allow access to various functions, such as the reservation of tampons, the request that the results are uploaded directly to the smartphone, the mapping of the places most at risk and much more.

Still speaking of Europe , another novelty of Immuni is its finally being able to dialogue with the other countries of the continent. This means that all those who have downloaded it will be able to use it in other EU states. The first nations to join the synergy initiative are Germany and Ireland, but many more will follow suit in the coming days.

The interoperability of applications, designed by a working group of the European Commission and made possible by a system of exchanges between apps, therefore allows anyone who goes abroad for various reasons not to be discovered by the contact tracing service.

The numbers of Immuni

The Immuni app has been downloaded by around 9.4 million people since its launch in June 2020 . At the moment, over 1,600 have tested positive for Covid-19 and have exchanged their anonymous code allowing the exposure notification to reach over 41,000 users.

Relevant and constantly increasing numbers so much so that last October 27 the record figure of 5,195 notifications of exposure was reached in a single day and on the same day there was also the peak of positive users: 143.

According to the Deputy Minister of Health , Pierpaolo Sileri , however, it is not enough. “If more people downloaded Immuni we would be in a better situation,” he said, urging the Italians to do so.


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