Wednesday, 23 September 2020 14:15

New NHS test-and-trace app is key to staying safe, says council Featured

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The new NHS Covid-19 app has launched to help in the fight against coronavirus.

Wiltshire Council is appealing to residents to download the app, so that they can be notified if they have come into contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus, and to businesses to display the NHS QR code poster so that they do not fall foul of the law.

Some businesses and other public places where people meet socially are now legally required to display the NHS QR code poster at all entrances, so customers who have downloaded the app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

This will allow contact tracers to track down customers in order to provide public health advice in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak and provide greater confidence to customers that businesses are taking their safety seriously, so they are more likely to make a return visit.

The NHS Covid-19 app has six key features:

Trace – the app detects and logs other nearby app users so if any user later tests positive for coronavirus, the user will receive an exposure alert with advice on what to do.

Alert – when the user first registers for the app they will be asked for the first half of their postcode (which is common to around 8,000 other households). They can check the app every day to see whether where they live has become a high-risk area for coronavirus.

Check-in – the app enables the user to record when they visit a venue by using the venue’s QR code.

Symptoms – if the user feels unwell, they can use the app to check if their symptoms could be related to coronavirus.

Test – if the user has coronavirus symptoms the app will take them to a website where they can book a test to see whether they have the virus.

Isolate – if the user has been advised by the app to self-isolate, the app provides a countdown timer so that they can keep track of how long they need to self-isolate.

Leader of Wiltshire Council Philip Whitehead said: “The NHS Covid-19 app is an important tool in the fight against coronavirus and everyone who downloads it is helping in this fight.

“The app contact tracing reduces the time it takes to alert those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive with the virus and every additional contact that the app traces helps stop the spread of the disease.

“The app helps the NHS track the virus, not individuals, by tracking the user’s postcode district so if the virus is spreading in a particular area, action can be quickly taken to stop it spreading further and protect local communities.

“Our residents and businesses have been absolutely fantastic during this pandemic and I hope that together we can continue to play our part.”

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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