24 Sep 2020

People are being urged to download the government's official contact-tracing app following its official release. NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus.

The app also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.

Anyone aged 16 and over is being asked to install the app on to their smartphone.  The app is available for smartphones only - not tablets, smartwatches or other devices.

To get started, go to Android's Google Play or Apple's App Store and search for "NHS Covid-19".
Handsets must have Android 6.0 (released in 2015) or iOS 13.5 (released in May 2020) and Bluetooth 4.0 or higher.
Contact tracing alerts willgive a notification telling the recipient to go into self-isolation for a fortnight - and trigger the start of the app's countdown clock.
Even if the recipient has no symptoms or a subsequent negative test result, they must stay at home for the duration. The app also keeps the subject's identity a secret.
Those that have not received such an alert, but fill in the app's symptoms checker and meet the criteria, will be directed to self-isolate for eight days. They will also be directed to an external website to book a test.
 
One of the app's other major features is a scanner to let it keep track of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and other places the user has visited.
Hospitality venues in England now face £1,000 fines if they do not display an official Test and Trace poster featuring a QR barcode assigned to them.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that with coronavirus infection rates rising, the app could help keep people safe.
"I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones," he said.