The UK government has confirmed that a new contact tracing app will finally launch in England and Wales on Thursday 24th September as it continues efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that it was deploying cutting-edge technology built by Apple and Google to “contain” COVID-19 at a “critical time”.

After a steady decline in infections over the summer, new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that there were around 3,200 new cases every day in early September.

The new app will use a decentralised system of contact tracing to track the movements of the general public.

It will then notify users if they have come into close contact with someone who has fallen ill.

There will also be QR code-based logins at venues such as restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and cinemas.

Businesses in these sectors have been advised to install visible NHS QR code posters so that visitors don’t forget to scan and check in.

The launch of the new app ends months of challenges and setbacks regarding the launch of a tracing system.

The UK government originally trialled a centralised app in the Isle of Wight before abandoning it in the early summer.

The new app uses a Bluetooth system that anonymously logs close contacts and includes features such as countdown timers for those in self isolation.

“The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time,” Hancock said.