Contact tracing app launched to curb spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Contact tracing app launched to curb spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Department of Health and Social Care has revealed that Isle of Wight residents are to be the first to get access to a new contact tracing app developed to help curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The new ‘test, track and trace’ programme will first be used by the island’s NHS and council staff, before it is made available to the remainder of island residents on 7 May 2020. The app has been developed by NHSX—the technology arm of the health service—in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre to guarantee the highest standards in respect of data privacy and security. The app will be complemented by enhanced contact tracing using existing methods online and over the phone. It is expected that the app will be rolled-out nationwide by mid-May 2020.

How the app will work

• when someone reports symptoms through the app, it will detect any other app users that the person has been in significant contact with over the past few days, including unknown contacts such as someone they may have sat next to on public transport

• the app will be able to anonymously alert these contacts and provide advice, including how to get a test to confirm whether or not they do have coronavirus

• users will be able order tests through the app when this function has been added

• as the integrated service develops, everyone who reports symptoms via the app or other means will be asked to record recent contacts using an online service (or through a telephone interview if they prefer), so that contact tracers can reach all contacts who may be at risk, whether or not those contacts are app users

• contacts will then be alerted either by the app, email or telephone, advising them to self-isolate or offering public health advice

For those without access to the app, or the ability to use a smartphone, there will be an option to report symptoms and order tests in other ways.

Source: Coronavirus test, track and trace plan launched on Isle of Wight

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