A tracer app expert has slammed New Zealand for its lacklustre Covid-19 tracer efforts and says no one is immune from the potentially deadly virus.
It comes after a snap Bay of Plenty Times survey recorded only two people in 20 using the tracer app when heading into Countdown Tauranga from the underground car park between 12.40pm and 12.55pm yesterday.
It is possible some who attended the supermarket did not have mobile phones and could not use the tracer app or entered their activities manually.
On Sunday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered Auckland be shut off from the rest of the country at alert level 3, and everyone else would move to level 2.
University of Auckland research fellow with Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures Dr Andrew Chen says community cases always prompt spikes in tracer app use.
However, before the latest community cases, there had been a dramatic drop in scans, especially after Waitangi weekend.
Ministry of Health data showed there were more than 1 million scans between Sunday and Monday, an increase from 818,000 odd between Saturday and Sunday.
The small number of community cases in New Zealand makes it hard to convince people to keep up with preventative actions like app use, Chen says.
"The challenge I would put to those people is we don't know when the case will appear and where it will appear," he said.
"We've got MIQ all over the country [and] people are still travelling ... the virus can metaphorically teleport across the country in a short period of time.
"People might say 'I live in the middle of nowhere, no one is going to get sick' but these places are not immune from the virus."
Chen said Kiwis should not be too quick to judge why 18 people did not scan during the 15-minute period but acknowledged it was "pretty low".
Countdown head of communications and community Kate Porter said it tried to make the scanning process as easy as possible for shoppers.
Each store has QR codes plastered in visible areas and there are also areas to sign-in physically on a register.
"The biggest thing customers can do to help us and each other is to make sure they've downloaded the app and are scanning in," Porter said.
"While we are seeing this happening a lot of the time, there is definitely room for improvement."
There was an increase in app use after the Northland community cases late last month, however rates quickly dropped after Waitangi weekend.
This was nothing new, Chen said: "[We saw it] all through the latter half of last year as well. The long-term behaviour change hasn't been ingrained within some people."
He thought as people lost their connection as to why they were using the app they automatically think nothing will happen if they never scan in.
The number of people using the tracer app is small, there is a dedicated group of around 400,000 to 500,000 people who are scanning religiously, Chen said.
While the number of scans increases around community cases, the numbers will inevitably fall if and when the nation goes back to normal.
This was not good enough for Chen, who urged app users to put the pressure on family, friends, workmates and neighbours to get on board.
"Actually have conversations with people saying, 'I feel there is risk and if you can participate in this system with me, that can help reduce the level of risk for all of us'," he said.
"If we can be having those conversations with people around us, then that I feel is going to be a way to get to all the people who aren't already convinced."