New NHS COVID-19 test and trace app launched


The new NHS Covid-19 app has been launched as part of the NHS Test and Trace service and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect Service, following successful trails in Newham, the Isle of Wight and with NHS Volunteer Responders. The app alerts people who are at risk of coronavirus, asking them to isolate before they potentially pass the virus on to others.

From 24 September, designated venues in certain sectors (including tourism and hospitality) 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. As part of this, businesses are legally required to have an official NHS QR poster displayed at the venue, which users of the app can use to check in. A range of assets are available for businesses to use to encourage customers and staff to download the use the NHS COVID-19 app.

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.

Based on Apple and Google’s privacy-preserving technology, the NHS COVID-19 App helps to protect businesses and customers from the impact of the coronavirus through six core functions:

  • Alert. Users are asked to input the first half of their postcode which will allow them to see the level of risk associated with their area and decide how to manage their interactions
  • Symptom checker. People who feel unwell can use the symptom checker to determine if symptoms could be related to COVID-19
  • Test. If, based on information from the symptom checker, it appears a user may have COVID-19, they will be redirected to a website to book a test
  • Trace. The app uses low level Bluetooth technology to keep a log of how long users are in close proximity to each other (measured based on the strength of the signal). If a user tests positive for COVID-19 the app will ask their permission to notify other phones who have been identified as being in close proximity to theirs. Those users will then received an anonymised exposure alert with advice on next steps. The app does not have access to phone contacts or or any other personal information held on users’ phones, including names, email addresses and phone numbers.
  • Check-in. The app allows users to record visits to a venue by scanning the venue’s NHS QR code which should be displayed at the entrance
  • Isolate. If a user tests positive, the will be given advice on next steps and guidance on self-isolation timelines.

For more information and to download assets and suggested messaging please click here.