NHS Covid-19 app: England and Wales get smartphone contact tracing for over-16s

PEOPLE living in England and Wales are being urged to download the government’s official contact-tracing app following its official release.

NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus.It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.

Anyone aged 16 and over is being asked to install the app on to their smartphone. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the app “helps us to find more people who are at risk of having the virus” that human contact tracers are unable to find.”Everybody who downloads the app will be helping to protect themselves, helping to protect their loved ones, helping to protect their community because the more people who download it, the more effective it will be,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He added that its accuracy was constantly being improved.Mr Hancock said users who self-isolated would be entitled to the same support from their employer that they would receive if they were off work due to illness.

The decision to allow those 16 and over to download the app is a change from trials, which were limited to the over-18s.The move reflects a desire by health chiefs for the software to be used by as many students in further education colleges and universities as possible.

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 intend to launch a new version that accepts under-18s later this month.The launch comes as the UK reported 6,178 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, up 1,252 since Tuesday, and 37 deaths.

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