Half a dozen European countries began testing a platform designed to exchange data between contact-tracing apps across borders, as part of European Commission (EC) efforts to confine the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

In a statement, the EC said the interoperability gateway service commenced today (14 September) in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Italy and Latvia, and will run until October, when it aims to push it live.

The platform was developed by T-Systems and SAP.

During the trial, the backend servers of official contact-tracing apps in these countries will communicate between each other and a newly created gateway server.

As a result, the EC expects users to be able to use single app to report an infection or receive an alert even when abroad.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, highlighted travel and “personal exchange” as “the core of the European project and the Single Market”, adding the interoperability gateway “will save lives”.

Addressing privacy concerns, the EC offered assurances the transmitted information is encrypted and did not allow people to be identified.

The European Data Protection Supervisor previously expressed worries around the need to balance tracking with privacy in contact-tracing apps, calling for developers to ensure data protection is built-in “from the start”.