Two men wearing face masks are seen in a vehicle in Berlin, capital of Germany, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Binh Truong/Xinhua)

The data provided by users would allow scientists to "gain more detailed insights into the spread of the coronavirus."

BERLIN, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has launched an app (mobile application) to better monitor the spread of the new coronavirus in Germany, the federal government agency and the research institute responsible for disease control and prevention announced on Tuesday.

The app is available for iOS and Android devices under the name "Corona Datenspende" ("corona data donation"). According to the RKI, the app works on digital fitness wristbands and smartwatches from various manufacturers.

Personal data of app users, such as names or addresses, are not submitted at any time. According to the RKI, users only need to enter their postcode once.

A pedestrian covering her face with a scarf is seen in Berlin, capital of Germany, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Binh Truong/Xinhua)

"A lot of thought is currently being given to how digital applications can help contain COVID-19," said RKI President Lothar Wieler. In order to assess the spread of the disease, official registration figures "alone" are not sufficient.

Many people in Germany already regularly record their health data, such as resting pulse, sleep and activity levels, with smartwatches or fitness wristbands. According to the RKI, during an infection with an acute respiratory disease, these vital signs "change significantly in most cases."

The new app can be used to record certain symptoms, such as fever, less activity or altered sleep, according to the RKI, which has developed the app together with the German e-health company Thryve.

A cyclist wearing a face mask is seen in Berlin, capital of Germany, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Binh Truong/Xinhua)

The data provided by users would allow RKI scientists to "gain more detailed insights into the spread of the coronavirus." The app is not intended to individually track contact persons, but "can help to better identify infection hotspots."

"If the number of symptomatic patients can be recorded in a sufficiently large sample, this could help us to draw earlier conclusions on the occurrence and spread of infections and also on the effectiveness of previous measures," explained Wieler.

Some Germans appear to make use of the new tool. Shortly after launching the app on Tuesday, the RKI announced on twitter that "due to the large number of accesses, we are experiencing technical difficulties." 

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