The NHS COVID-19 app is now available to download for free in England and Wales

On Thursday 24 September, the NHS COVID-19 app officially launched across England and Wales. The NHS COVID-19 App is the simplest way to help protect those we love from coronavirus.
Image of a smartphone screen. the left corner has a selfie of an older man with a younger woman, both smiling at the camera. The upper right corner has the NHS test and trace logo and a speech bubble

What is the NHS Covid-19 App?

The app is part of the NHS Test and Trace service and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.  It alerts people at risk of coronavirus, asking them to isolate before they potentially pass the virus on to others. The app will be a vital new pillar to enhance both the English NHS Test and Trace service, and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect. Following trials and rigorous testing, the app has proven to be highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus. 

How does it work?

The app is based on Apple and Google’s privacy-preserving technology and has proven to be highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus. 

 

The NHS COVID-19 App is the simplest way to help protect those we love from coronavirus. It achieves this through six core functions:

 

  • Alert: When users first download the app they will be asked to input the first half of their postcode. This allows them to see the level of risk associated with their area, to help them decide how to manage their interactions

  • Symptom checker: If people feel unwell they can use the symptom checker to see if symptoms could be related to coronavirus

  • Test: If, based on information from the symptom checker, it appears a user may have coronavirus, they will be taken to a website where they could book a test

  • Trace: The app uses low level Bluetooth technology to keep a log of how long users are at close proximity to each other (which is measured based on the strength of the signal). If a person who presented symptoms comes back with a positive test – the app will ask their permission to notify other phones who have been identified as being at close proximity to theirs. Those users will then receive an annonymised exposure alert with advice on what to do next

    • Note: The app does not have access to phone contacts or any other personal information held on users’ phones. This includes names. contacts, email addresses or phone numbers

  • Check-in: The app allows you to record when you visit a venue by “checking-in” when you arrive, using the venue’s QR code which should be displayed at the enterance

  • Isolate: If a user tests positive, they will be given advice on next steps and guidance on self-isolation timelines

From Thursday 24 September, designated venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus. As part of this they will also be legally reqired to have an official NHS QR poster displayed at their venue, which users of the app will be able to use to ‘check-in’.

Businesses and venues that are not currently expected to maintain customer logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate or sit-down in close contact for 15 minutes or more.  By using the NHS QR code system, businesses will be helping to protect themselves and their customers from the impact of the virus.

The app has been designed to be intuitive and to offer everyone a simpler way to help protect themselves, their loved ones and their community. It can be easily downloaded from the Google and Apple app stores.

For more information about the NHS Covid-19 app, visit https://covid19.nhs.uk/ Find out more

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