Australia will likely only be able to lift lockdown restrictions if “millions and millions” of Aussies download the COVIDSafe coronavirus tracking app, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

“We would encourage all Australians, if you want to see us return to the more eased restrictions that I know you’re looking forward to and that I’m looking forward to, then it is important that you download the COVIDSafe app,” he said.

“This is the ticket to ensuring that we can have eased restrictions and Australians can go back to the lifestyle and the many things that they previously were able to do and this is important.”

He went on the liken the app to sunscreen, saying just like having to wear it when the sun’s out, Australians should download the app if “you want to return to a more liberated economy and society.”

“If you have downloaded the app, thank you very much,” he added.

“Convince two or three more people that haven’t downloaded the app to do the same thing.”

So far, over 2.8 million Aussies have installed the app, or around 11% of the country. The government has previously said around 40% of people would need to use the app for it to be effective.

NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia have all gently eased restrictions, but a total lifting of the lockdowns remains a long way away.

The COVIDSafe app works by conducting a “Bluetooth handshake” with people who the user comes into contact with. Health authorities then know who to contact if someone contracts the virus.

However there remain concerns about iPhone functionality, and the fact the source code has yet to be released for transparency.

More to come.