The Barbados Exposure Notification App (BENApp) is an anonymous contact tracing app offered by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to assist in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in Barbados.
It is intended for use by everyone in Barbados. Locals and travelers alike, and also allows you to locally track and share symptoms.
Early Alerts If You've Been Exposed
Imagine that you test positive for COVID-19. You tell your friends and family that you may have been in contact with, but how do you anonymously inform that people that you don’t know? Barbados’s free exposure notification app, BENApp, will help us all do our part.
The app notifies you if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19. If you test positive, you can use the app to anonymously notify anyone you’ve been near.
BENApp will notify you if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and has the app running. If you test positive, you can use the app to anonymously notify anyone you’ve been near. It doesn’t collect any personal information nor track your location.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is BENApp?
One of the tools to help stop the continued spread of Covid-19 is in your pocket. Exposure Notification apps alert you of a possible exposure to the virus by allowing you to reduce risk for your loved ones and community, seek timely medical attention and stay home.
How will an app help us slow the spread of COVID-19?
BENApp can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in and beyond Barbados borders. Proactive alerts about possible exposure go a long way to helping stop the spread of covid-19 by educating individuals of potential risk to exposure to help individuals assess symptoms over the next 14 days and take any necessary steps. For example, if you knew you were possibly infected, would you go visit an at risk person? Maybe you would delay the visit a week to further assess the likelihood you have been exposed.
Will this BENApp eliminate the need for masks and social distancing?
BENApp can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Proactive alerts about possible exposure go a long way to helping stop the spread of covid-19 by educating individuals of potential risk to exposure to help individuals assess symptoms over the next 14 days and take any necessary steps. For example, if you knew you were possibly infected, would you go visit an at risk person? Maybe you would delay the visit a week to further assess the likelihood you have been exposed.
Will this BENApp eliminate the need for masks and social distancing?
No. To contain the spread of COVID-19 we need to combine several steps together. When the BENApp is broadly adopted it should help reduce the number of people who need to self quarantine to only those who have been exposed. But the app doesn’t replace the need for social distancing, masks, etc. These tools working together help to stop new outbreaks from spreading widely by working together.
Is this mandatory in BENApp?
This is not mandatory, but is encouraged of all citizens, residents, and visitors to Barbados to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Staying indoors and face masks isn’t containing the virus enough, additional measures are needed. This is another tool to help us stay safe together. And this is a free app, no cost to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
What is an exposure notification?
An exposure notification is when someone is notified that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. BENApp uses anonymous keys (a series of randomly generated numbers) sent between phones to identify if people have been near each other and if that encounter could have put one of them at risk. A notification is sent alerting you that over the last 14 days you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive. The territory also uses contact tracers to help notify people that they have been exposed, the length of the encounter, the closeness of the encounter, the Covid19+ individuals risk of transmission at that time, and the device’s signal. It takes time to contact everyone and may not be exhaustive. None of these methods are perfect, but together they help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Why should I download and use this app/why is it important to do this now?
Manual contact tracing has been pivotal in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it takes awhile to process everyone as scaling these projects to cover the pace of the virus growth is hard. With digital contact tracing and exposure notification, individuals can quickly receive an exposure alert and determine what if any change in behavior is necessary for the next 14 days as they assess symptoms to avoid further transmission. It is important to do this step now because it will help to contain this virus more quickly, and aid in the reopening or keeping our economy open.
Who else already uses this app?
Many people around the world are already using the app and helping to fight the COVID-19 battle. Numerous countries have subscribed to the technologies used by the Government of Barbados.
Can/Should anyone download the app?
Yes, everyone that has a smartphone should download the app. The more people that have the app the more exposures we’ll capture quickly, helping stop the spread of the virus. This is not a nationwide app so that it will not work in all states/countries right now.
nity are already using the app as they helped test it before we launched it across the state/country. Other countries are using a very similar version of this application already, too.
How exactly do the phones running BENApp communicate with each other?
BENApp uses a new feature in phones created by Apple and Google. This new feature uses the phone’s Bluetooth radio to listen for and send randomly generated “keys”. Each key is a series of unidentifiable numbers without any personal information. The keys your phone sends will change every 10-20 minutes. All the keys your phone hears and sends over 14 days are recorded on your phone.
How can I share this app with my family and friends?
Tell everyone you know about it. This app is available for iOS and Android phones and the more people that use it, the safer we are.
How long does it take to download and set-up?
It takes less than five minutes to download and set-up the app as long as you are on a network. Because BENApp does not ask for any identifiable information, the user only needs to enable exposure notifications to run in the background. No account needs to be created, as this information isn’t needed to protect you or your community.
If you have questions related to COVID-19 testing, symptom screening, and other government programs, please The Ministry’s official COVID-19 response site. You can also contact the various hotlines established for specific and direct support…
• Travel (in and out of Barbados)
• Symptoms Monitoring
• Positive Isolation and Care
• Exposure Notice and Contact Tracing
• Work and Lifestyle
Ministry of Health and Wellness
Frank Walcott Building, Culloden Road
Barbados, W.I. Covid19Hotline@health.gov.bb
How does it work?
You download the app from Apple App Store or Google Play to your phone and opt-in to the notification system and turn on bluetooth. From there, it assigns your phone a privacy-preserving “random key” that changes every 10-20 mins. As you go about your day, your phone exchanges these anonymous keys with other phones to track exposure to one another.
If you test positive, you will be given a verification code from Ministry of Health and Wellness.. After entering the code, you can choose to upload the list of the keys your phone has sent out in the last 14 days to our secure cloud server. This list of keys is not identified by any personal information about you. It simply is an anonymous list of numbers. Once a day your phone and everyone else’s phone will download the list of all the keys from people who tested positive. The keys will be compared and if there is a match, meaning if you were near someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive, you will receive a notification that you may have been exposed.
The notification will include suggestions for what you can do to help protect others in your family and community.For example – staying at home for 14 days. You can protect others from infection which plays a large part in revitalizing our economy.
How is my privacy being protected?
These randomly generated keys are stored on your phone, you choose to share them, if you are diagnosed. You are in control of this information. No other information is collected or shared by the app. You will never be contacted by Public Health because of a notification on the app. It has been made so anonymous that none of this information exists in the app. Any contact you receive from Ministry of Health and Wellness is based on the laboratory reporting and traditional “manual” contact tracing through interviews.
How does BENApp protect my privacy?
The information the app exchanges with other phones is a simple anonymous number called a key. In addition, the app is very limited in what it does. Specifically, BENApp:
Never requires personal information such as your name or address
Never tracks your location
Never sends information to the government without your direct permission
Never collects nor sends personally identifiable information to any party
Never accesses other information on your phone
Will Apple and Google collect information about me from BENApp?
No. Apple and Google will not collect any information about you from the BENApp app.
How do I know that you aren’t tracking me and my whereabouts?
Google and Apple began working together to ensure that they could stop the pandemic by having phones talk together through random generated keys, but not able to share any personal information. To ensure this transparency the code has been developed as public, open source code so all developers have visibility into the functionality and data collected (only keys). Keyed Systems/XAFE and partners have no access to personal information. The Government of Barbados has no identity details from this App to allow it to track wherabouts.
What data does this app collect?
The app preserves an individual’s privacy and does not ask for any personally identifiable information, like a person’s name, email or phone number. Using clever cryptograph, users’ generate sets of keys that rotate at different frequencies that are hard to decipher. These randomly generated keys are saved for 14 days on your phone and then deleted. No location or personal information is shared. The exposure notification alert will share some information about the exposure – like approximately how long you were exposed. Nothing more.
How do users obtain the test verification code?
If a user has an onset of symptoms and is tested, depending on the results (positive, likely, or negative), the health authority generates a code for them.
What happens after a user enters the verification code?
Depending on whether the code indicates a confirmed positive, a likely positive test, or a confirmed negative test, the user will be provided with guidance about what next steps to take, provided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (for example, quarantine, schedule a contact-tracing interview, continue taking one’s temperature, etc.).
Is there an expiration date for each verification code?
Yes. Verification codes are only live for 15 minutes. After this time, you must reach out to the Hotline at 246.536.4500 to be issued a new one.
Who made BENApp?
BENApp is offered by the Government of Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness. It is published by Keyed Systems/XAFE, LLC in partnership with PathCheck Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating digital technologies to help stop the spread of COVID-19, while preserving individual privacy and liberty. No information about individuals is collected by these parties from the app and they are using Google Apple API that also doesn’t collect any personal information.
This app is not:
Mandatory to download
A way to report on a users whereabouts
An app that collects or shares personal data
A means to be marketed to, from or thru since no information is collected.
Need a positive verification code?
If you receive a positive test for COVID-19, but haven’t yet been contacted by public health, call the Ministry of Health Hotline at 246.536.4500 and ask for a positive test verification code for BENApp. They will verify your positive test result and ask how you would like to receive the verification code. This phone line is monitored 24/7.
If you voluntarily choose to enter your test result into BENApp system, you will need a verification code whether you are using the app or the exposure notification setting on your phone.
NOTE: You only need a verification code if you receive a positive test result for COVID-19. You do not need a verification code if your test result was negative, or if you tested positive for COVID-19 before you started using BENApp.
Received Notice You Have Been Exposed?
If you received an exposure notification through the BENApp app, it means that you were likely in close contact with an anonymous BENApp user who has been verified to have COVID-19. Close contact means you spent 15 minutes or more within 2 meters of that person or people over the course of a day and may have become infected.
If you were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you will need to stay at your home/accommodation and away from others for up to 14 days, even if you do not have any symptoms. You will also need to get tested, preferably at least five days after exposure. The app will give you a date range when the exposure likely happened.
Stay at your home/accommodation in self-quarantine and contact Covid19Hotline@health.gov.bb or phone 246.536.4500 right away to get a test date for COVID-19 and be put in contact with your nearest public health team. Download BIMSafe, Barbados companion app to BENApp exposure notice, to help with monitoring yourself for symptoms and visit the BIMSafe website for more details and information.
Do not end your self-quarantine or leave your accommodations except on the advice of public health officials.
Still have questions? Contact Us.