Isle of Wight residents are now able to download and use the official COVID-19 contact tracing app, which is being rolled out exclusively on the island from today (Thursday).
As part of the government’s new ‘test, track, and trace’ programme, the app aims to minimise the spread of COVID-19, and could be available nationwide in a matter of weeks.
NHS and council staff living on the island had initial access to the app on Tuesday.
The free app has been made available for download through covid19.nhs.uk or alternatively, on Apple and Google’s app stores.
Developed by NHSX, the technology arm of the NHS, and a team of world-leading scientists and doctors, the app is designed to significantly speed up contact tracing, helping reduce the possibility of the virus spreading. Contact tracing enables the identification of people most at risk of infection so they can take immediate action to protect themselves.
When someone reports symptoms via the app, it will detect other contacts that have been in close proximity to that user over the past few days. The app then anonymously notifies those contacts and provides advice, including how to get a test to confirm if they have COVID-19.
The government has said users will be able to order tests through the app shortly.
Concerns over privacy have been raised, with ministers stating the app has been designed with “this front in mind”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said if the trial is successful, the app will be rolled out nationwide by the middle of May. He also urged everyone on the Isle of Wight to download the app; further adding that social distancing rules would still be in place during the trial.
“By downloading the app, you are protecting your own health, you are protecting the health of your loved ones and the health of your community,” he said.
“Where the Isle of Wight goes, Britain follows.”