The UK's NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app officially goes live

The UK's NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app officially goes live

The app primarily will alert you when you cross paths with someone who has reported that they were diagnosed with COVID-19 - just like other Exposure Notification apps using Apple and Google's API. If one users later reports a coronavirus test, the app anonymously warns people who have matched with them.

But the England and Wales app was delayed after a false start back in May.

The app shows the risk level in any local area - based on the postcode district entered when it is downloaded.

(Pocket-lint) - The UK National Health Service has finally released its COVID-19 contact tracing app for iOS and Android, a full day ahead of its expected debut.

People with symptoms can check them with the app to see if they match those of coronavirus based on the latest government guidance.

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

Early users who tried to download it through the Google Play Store found that they were told the app was still the early version, which was used in tests on the Isle of Wight and in Newham in London. Scotland has its own app, which has more than one million downloads, covering around a quarter of its adult population, and Northern Ireland's app has over 300,000 user.

"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".

The UK's app joins a growing list of other digital contact tracing solutions in Europe and beyond, including in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Latvia, Germany, and Poland.

A number of Huawei smartphones, including the Mate 30 series and the P40 series, are also not now able to download the app as it can not access Google's app store.

The NHS COVID-19 app is to help the United Kingdom tackle the spread of coronavirus, and is available to people living in England and Wales.

That left them unable to use the app, since that version was restricted to people in those locations who had received specific codes allowing them to open it.

Once widespread, the mandatory venue QR codes will also effectively double as free ads for the app so that could help drive downloads.

The more people who download and use the app, the easier it will be to trace people who have come in to contact with the virus. The app only sends out proximity warnings to the contacts on upload of a positive test. "So if we don't speed up testing then the app is functionally useless". However the government's logic appears to be that more features will encourage more people to download the app and thereby increase uptake and utility.

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