The new NHS COVID-19 app is now available to download. It’s free and it has some clever features that will help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
It’s to support the NHS Test and Trace service, so its major benefit to the public is in helping to trace people quickly when they’ve been in close contact for a period of time with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. That way, they can be advised even sooner to self-isolate and take any other appropriate steps.
In Devon, our overall number of positive coronavirus cases is, although rising, still relatively low compared to other parts of the country. But the NHS Test and Trace service is still just as vital here in helping to trace people as quickly as possible and to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The sooner you know, the sooner you can act and reduce the risk of infection to others.
It works by recording the location of places that you visit – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, leisure or tourist attractions, ‘close contact’ establishments such as hair dressers, places of worship, and others public places including libraries and village halls – onto your phone.
You’ll get an alert if you’ve visited a place where you’ve had prolonged contact recently with someone who has tested positive with coronavirus, and there’ll be advice about what to do next.
It also provides risk alerts by postcode, a symptom checker and test booking features.
Venues are now legally required to collect contact details from customers and visitors, so if you don’t have a smartphone, they will also have their own log book or other paper method.
If you have any questions about the app, NHS Covid-19 app support may have the answers online.
We all need to know about the app and how it will work, because we’re all likely to come upon it in our day to day lives.
When entering some businesses – such as pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, or visitor attractions, or libraries, (anywhere the public goes where they’ll be congregating for more than 15 minutes in close proximity) – those venues need to keep a record of who is there, and when.
That’s so that when someone tests positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace teams can trace people who have been in close contact with that person recently.
So the app is to make that process easier and more reliable for those businesses, as well as for the general public who visit those places.
Right now though, businesses and other venues across England and Wales (like places of worship or community organisations with a physical location that is open to the public; or an event which is taking place in a physical location), are being urged by government to ensure that they have NHS ‘QR’ code posters visible at their entrances, in advance of Thursday 24 September.
In fact, there is now a legal requirement for certain venues to display the NHS QR posters in their venues by the 24 September. They include venues in:
- Leisure and tourism
- Close contact services
- Places of worship
- Local authority venues
The QR code posters are free to download, and available online.
From Thursday 24 September, the general public are encouraged to download the new NHS COVID-19 app, that they then use when entering a premises, by showing their smartphone to the businesses’ QR code poster.
The phone app and the QR code poster do the rest. It will create a digital record that you visited that venue at that time, and that record will be logged on your phone for 21 days.
If there is a positive case identified at a venue, the identification for that venue will be sent to all mobile phone devices in England and Wales, and if there is a match with your phone, you may get an alert with advice on what to do next based on the level of risk.
The app does the work. It takes away the need for people with the app to manually check-in at venues, although those premises will still need to provide a manual system for people who don’t have the app. That could be a handwritten register.
Some businesses already use their own QR system, but they are being asked by government to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code.
For more information about the NHS COVID-19 app, visit covid19.nhs.uk.