The public should download a new contact-tracing app as part of the drive to save lives from Covid-19 and protect the NHS, health bosses have urged.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said there was “fairly significant optimism” that people would use the app – which could be launched within weeks – as part of measures to ease the lockdown. The app – which asks for the first part of a user’s postcode – allows people to alert the NHS if they have symptoms and book a Covid-19 test.
The app tells then tells them to self-isolate while they have their test and await the results. It also alerts anyone who has been in close proximity with the first user, telling them they should isolate for 14 days. If the first person’s test comes back negative, the app tells both them and their contacts to come out of isolation and carry on as normal. But if their test is positive, everyone carries on isolating – with the contacts told to book their own Covid-19 test if they themselves develop symptoms.
Prof Van-Tam said: “In relation to the app, clearly the uptake is going to be very important, and so is the compliance with the app and regular using it over a sustained period of time.
“Those are unknowns at the moment but the market research we’ve done indicates, I think, for the UK, that there’s a fairly significant optimism that people will engage with something that clearly is about protecting the NHS.”