Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called on people across the South West to download the new NHS Covid-19 app, which has now launched across England and Wales following rigorous testing and successful trials.
The NHS Covid-19 app will alert users if they have been close to someone who later tests positive for coronavirus, as well as providing risk alerts based on a user’s postcode, allow users to scan QR codes to check in at venues on the app and allow people to book tests, if they have symptoms.
The app works by logging the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for Covid-19 – even if you don’t know each other.
The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case.
The UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.
Businesses are now required by law to display NHS Test and Trace QR code posters so customers with the NHS Covid-19 app can use it to check in to venues.
So far, more than 90,000 businesses have already downloaded QR codes.
The app has been through successful trials in the Isle of Wight, Newham and among NHS Volunteer Responders and lessons learned have informed the final version.
The Health Secretary said: “We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus.
“With infection rates rising, we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology.
“We have worked extensively with tech companies, international partners and privacy and medical experts – and learned from the trials – to develop an app that is secure and simple to use and will help keep our country safe.
“The launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.”