People encouraged to download NHS app to prevent spread of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 September 2020 | UPDATED: 07:45 28 September 2020

A screenshot of the coronavirus contact tracing app. Picture: Jamie Harris/PA Wire

A screenshot of the coronavirus contact tracing app. Picture: Jamie Harris/PA Wire

People in North Somerset are being encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 app to help combat the virus.

The app, which was launched yesterday (Thursday), is based on Apple and Google’s privacy-preserving technology and in trials has been highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

North Somerset Council is encouraging residents to download it to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Cllr Mike Bell, the authority’s executive member for public health, said: “I want to encourage as many of our residents as possible to download this app as an effective way in helping to combat coronavirus which has had such an impact on our lives and how we go about our daily business.

“Not only will it help with track and trace but it also has other useful information built in such as the symptom checker.

“We all need to follow the guidance too on social distancing and continue with our hand-washing regime – think hands, face, space.”

More: Businesses legally required to enforce new NHS app.

When users first download they app, they will be asked to input the first half of their postcode – this enables them to see the level of risk associated with their area.

The app uses low level Bluetooth technology to keep a log of how long users are at close proximity to each other.

If a person receives a positive coronavirus test, the app will ask their permission to notify other phones which have been in close proximity to theirs.

Those users will then receive an anonymised exposure alert with advice on what to do next.

Matt Lenny, the council’s director of public health, said: “This app will help us understand how the virus is spreading in our area so that we can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.”

The app allows people to record when they visit a venue by ‘checking in’ using the venue’s QR code.

Venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff.

They also must have an official NHS QR poster displayed at their venue, where people can ‘check in’ with the app.

Businesses and venues that are not currently expected to maintain customer logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate in close contact for 15 minutes or more.

For more information on QR code posters, log on to www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster


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