x Health Men's Health Children's Health Nutrition and Wellness Reproductive Health Health & Science Digital News Videos Opinions Cartoons Education E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise BULK SMS E-Learning Digger Classified The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
Login ×
BTV
VAS
DCX
RMS

Covid-19 smartphone app finally launches in England and Wales

Health & Science - By Thomson Reuters Foundation | September 25th 2020 at 12:08:37 GMT +0300

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) contact tracing smartphone app of Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is displayed on a mobile phone in this illustration photograph taken September 24, 2020. [Reuters]

England and Wales launch a COVID-19 smartphone app on Thursday, allowing users to trace contacts, check the local level of risk and record visits to venues such as pubs, four months after the technology was promised to the public.

The NHS COVID-19 app comes as Britain braces for a second wave of infections, with daily cases numbers rising at rates not seen since the peak of the pandemic and a testing system unable to cope with demand in many areas.

The government had said a COVID-19 app would arrive in May, but early trials were dogged by problems, and developers abandoned home-grown technology in favour of Apple and Google's model in June.

As the delay lengthened, the government downplayed the importance of smartphones in fighting COVID-19, saying that rather than an app being central to the test and trace system, it was "the cherry on the cake".

Covid 19 Time Series

 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, however, said that with infection rates rising, every tool available must be used 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, simple to use and will help keep our country safe," he said.

The app uses Bluetooth signals to log when a user is in close contact with another user, generally meaning within two metres for 15 minutes or more.

If someone then tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to share the result anonymously with their close contacts, who will each receive an alert and will have to isolate for 14 days.

The app generates a random ID for each user to protect privacy, and matches cases on the device rather than on a central server, as was the case in the first iteration.

It will also enable users to book a COVID-19 test subject to availability, check symptoms, and register at venues using a QR-type bar code displayed by businesses.

People aged over 16 will be encouraged to download the app by advertisements with the strapline: "Protect your loved ones. Get the app."


COVID-19 Coronavirus App
//

Stay Ahead!

Access premium content only available
to our subscribers.

Support independent journalism
×
Log in
Support independent journalism
Create an account    Forgot Password
Create An Account
Support independent journalism
I have an account Log in
Reset Password
Support independent journalism
Log in