The NHS contact tracing app has been officially released and everyone living in England and Wales is being encouraged to download it.
After having physical contact with someone who is infected by the coronavirus, the NHS Covid-19 app will tell the user to self-isolate for two weeks. When a recipient is instructed to self-isolate he/she triggers the start of the app`s countdown clock.
The app also has a check-in scanner which immediately notifies the user when they have visited a place which is an outbreak hotspot. Health and government officials have encouraged anyone aged 16 and over to install the app on their smartphone.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the contact-tracing app “helps us find more people who are at risk of having the virus” that human contact tracers incapable of finding.
“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 said.
The app keeps the users` identity a secret and can direct them to an external website to book a test once they meet the criteria of the app`s symptoms checker.
Initially, the app was meant to be released by the government months ago, however, due to problems with the original design and the addition of extra features it was only ready for its final public test in August.
The contact-tracing app is meant to reduce the work of human contact tracers and reduce the risk of infection for all users.