NHS coronavirus app to launch in England and Wales on 24 September | Coronavirus outbreak

The Covid-19 app will be launched across England and Wales on 24 September, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.

Before its introduction, businesses including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the app can use their smartphones to check in.

DHSC said continuing trials in the east London borough of Newham, on the Isle of Wight and with NHS volunteer responders showed the app was “highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus”.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus, including cutting-edge technology. The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time.

“QR codes provide an easy and simple way to collect contact details to support the NHS test-and-trace system. Hospitality businesses can now download posters for their premises ahead of the launch of the NHS Covid-19 app. This will allow the public to seamlessly check in to venues using the app when it launches.

“It is vital we are using the NHS test-and-trace system to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and stop this virus in its tracks. This function will make it simple and easy so we can keep this virus under control.”

Wales’ health minister, Vaughan Gething, said the app’s launch was “an important part of coronavirus response” and that it was sensible for the app to work across the two countries.

He said: “Working on a joint England and Wales basis is the most practical option here, as we know there is a lot of movement across our shared border. It makes sense to use the same app, working in exactly the same way, regardless of which country you’re in.

“The Welsh government has worked closely with the NHS app team to ensure the app is easy to use and gives people the right advice and guidance, tailored to the country they reside in. I strongly encourage people in Wales to download and use the app when it launches.

“The more people who download and use the NHS Covid-19 app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”


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