NHS Covid-19 App
The NHS Covid-19 Contact Tracing App for England and Wales launched recently and after receiving a few questions from patients, I thought I would take this opportunity to provide some information and a few links that may help.
The App is available on the App Store and Google Play, and it is anonymous – it tracks the virus and not the person, and it aims to be a minimal drain on your phone's battery.
The App is an additional tool to help tackle the virus, and works in conjunction with the NHS Test & Trace service, not instead of it. It will hopefully capture a situation where someone may have come into close contact with an individual who later tests positive for Covid-19, but who would otherwise be completely unaware. An example might be while sitting near someone on a bus or train, or standing near them while queuing in a shop. The App uses bluetooth low energy to track how close you are to someone and for how long. It won’t let you know about people you walk past briefly, but it will let you know if someone who later tests positive was within 2 metres of you for 15 minutes or more. For people who request a Covid-19 test via the App, their results will automatically be attached to the App (anonymously of course), and anyone else will be provided with a code to enter into the App with their test results.
Use of the App is entirely voluntary and if you are alerted that you are a contact of someone via the App, that remains completely anonymous and isolation is obviously advised, but remains personal choice. However, if you are asked to isolate by callers from NHS Test & Trace, that is now a legal requirement.
These are difficult times for everyone, whatever our individual circumstances, so hopefully every step we can take to control the virus so that we can all live our lives will hopefully help.