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UK News NHS contact tracing app finally launched in England and Wales

10:45  24 september  2020
10:45  24 september  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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How will it send contact - tracing alerts? When two devices running the app are close to each other, they exchange Bluetooth "handshakes" people in England can be fined £1,000 or more for breaching self-isolation rules. But because the app lets users remain anonymous and health chiefs want it to be

People living in England and Wales are being urged to download the government's official contact - tracing app following its official release. The age limit is in line with the Protect Scotland contact - tracing app . And health chiefs behind Northern Ireland's StopCOVID NI have said they

The new app is available in England and Wales © Getty The new app is available in England and Wales The NHS coronavirus contact tracing app has finally been launched in England and Wales after months of delay and questions about its effectiveness.

The app was trialled first on the Isle of Wight and in the London Borough of Newham and was used to send alerts to users after someone had tested positive.

It uses an Apple and Google-developed system, using Bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of people a user has been close to.

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The UK government’s Covid contact - tracing app will finally launch in England and Wales on 24 September, the government has announced, more In the run-up to the delayed launch , businesses across England and Wales are being urged to print and display NHS posters to help users of the app

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It does this by exchanging randomised keys while the Bluetooth signal strength measures proximity.

If someone falls ill, they can tell the app, which will then ping their keys to a central server and in turn send them off to all app users in search of a match.

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Should the system determine a person as a close contact, they will be automatically sent a notification and issued with further guidance.

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A QR code scanning feature is available, allowing people to check-in to venues they visit and easily share their contact details for human tracing efforts.

Some 160,000 businesses have already downloaded QR codes for use in their facilities.

However as the software is voluntary, its success will depend heavily on how many people choose to download and use it.

Empty tables on pedestrianised street outside bar Revolution on Bedford Place in Southampton. All pubs, bars, restaurants in England must have a 10pm closing time from Thursday, to help curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Empty tables on pedestrianised street outside bar Revolution on Bedford Place in Southampton. All pubs, bars, restaurants in England must have a 10pm closing time from Thursday, to help curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)

The government had originally tried to develop its own app software before deciding in June that it needed to cooperate with companies which provide the technology powering smartphones to come up with an effective product.

The health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus.

"With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology.

"We have worked extensively with tech companies, international partners, and privacy and medical experts - and learned from the trials - to develop an app that is secure, simple to use and will help keep our country safe.

screen of a cell phone: If you show symptoms the app will message other users you have been in contact with © PA If you show symptoms the app will message other users you have been in contact with

"Today's launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones."

A TV advertising campaign with the slogan "Protect your loved ones. Get the app" is being used to encourage people to install the software.

The UK's major network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, giffgaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Virgin Mobile have all agreed to not charge for using it.

Customers embarrassed by 'young and arrogant' bar staff over Covid app

  Customers embarrassed by 'young and arrogant' bar staff over Covid app Middle-aged customers are being 'humiliated' by 'app disciples' at pubs and restaurants banning them from going in without the NHS Covid-19 app - despite government rules saying it is not compulsory . The infection tracing software has been used as an excuse for refusing entry to older drinkers and eaters without it downloaded onto their phones.This is despite the government's own guidance stating it should not be a precondition of entry. The rules only tell businesses they 'must' display the 'official NHS QR poster' and apply for a code to be connected to the app.

Baroness Dido Harding, executive chair of England's NHS Test and Trace Programme, said: "We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to engage with England's NHS Test and Trace service.

"The NHS COVID-19 app enables the majority of people with a smartphone to find out if they are at risk of having caught the virus and need to self isolate, order a test if they have symptoms, and access the right guidance and advice.

"The features of this app, including QR code check-in at venues, work alongside our traditional contact tracing service and will help us to reach more people quickly in their communities to prevent further spread of the virus.

"This is a welcome step in protecting those around us."

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.


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Customers embarrassed by 'young and arrogant' bar staff over Covid app .
Middle-aged customers are being 'humiliated' by 'app disciples' at pubs and restaurants banning them from going in without the NHS Covid-19 app - despite government rules saying it is not compulsory . The infection tracing software has been used as an excuse for refusing entry to older drinkers and eaters without it downloaded onto their phones.This is despite the government's own guidance stating it should not be a precondition of entry. The rules only tell businesses they 'must' display the 'official NHS QR poster' and apply for a code to be connected to the app.

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