New NHS COVID-19 App launched

Residents of the Isle of Wight will today receive a link enabling them to download the new NHS COVID-19 App which it is hoped will help to ease lockdown restrictions.

Currently being tested and developed by NHSX, the app is designed to trace and track COVID-19 through identifying those who have the virus. 

However, this isn’t to be confused with the current NHS App, which offers a range of services including making appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and offering advice related to COVID-19. 

So how does it work?

NHSX.HNS.UK have stated that the contact-tracing app will use Bluetooth to connect with other users and track the spread of the virus. 

Once downloaded, the app logs your distance between other users and sends out alerts if you come into significant contact with someone who is infected. 

Users who fall ill can choose to let the app notify the NHS so alerts can be sent out and the necessary advice can be issued. 

The Chief Executive of NHSX, Matthew Gould stated: “By launching the NHS COVID-19 app we can reduce transmission of the virus by alerting people who may have been exposed, so they can take action to protect themselves, the people they care about and the NHS.”https://twitter.com/imcdnzl/status/1257996111266144256

So what about data protection? 

According to Gov.uk, data privacy is a top priority, with National Cyber Security Center involved in the app’s development. 

All data will be anonymous and the only personal information required is the first half of your postcode. 

The use of the app is voluntary and users can delete the app at any time. 

According to NHSX.NHS.UK: “Data will only ever be used for NHS care, management, evaluation and research.”

“This ground-breaking technology, combined with our heroic frontline health and social care staff, and both a nationwide contact tracing testing programme will ensure that we remain in the best position to move toward easing the lockdown,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said.

It’s unclear when the app will be made available to the rest of the UK.

To find out more about the NHS COVID-19 App visit the NHS COVID-19 App page.

(Image credit: Pexels)

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