NHS COVID-19 app: How to download and use coronavirus tracker and why it's important

24 September 2020, 06:00 | Updated: 24 September 2020, 07:15

The NHS COVID-19 app will be available to download from Friday 24 September
The NHS COVID-19 app will be available to download from Friday 24 September. Picture: Shutterstock

From Thursday September 24, people living in England and Wales are being encouraged to download and install the NHS COVID-19 app on to their smartphones to help fight coronavirus.

There is a new way that we can work together to fight coronavirus - and all you need to do is download an app.

The NHS COVID-19 app is the fastest way to protect the ones you love, and keep your friends and family safe from the killer virus.

With coronavirus still causing havoc, it's up to all of us to do our bit to help stop the spread.

The app is so simple to use, and it is incredibly effective.

If you have symptoms, you can check these with the app to see if they might suggest you have coronavirus, based on the latest government guidance. The app will then guide you to booking a test online. If you receive a positive result, you can tell the app, and it will send an anonymous notification to any app user who you’ve come into recent close contact with.

The app lets you know anonymously if you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus, so you can take the right action to protect the ones you love, stopping further spread of the virus.

It shows you the risk level in your local area, based on the postcode you enter when you download it.

It gives you advice on what action to take, so you can know how best to protect the ones you love.

You’ll start seeing official NHS QR code posters in local businesses, and the app's inbuilt QR scanner is the quickest and easiest way to now check-in, without having to fill out forms or pass on your details.

The NHS COVID-19 app is easy to use
The NHS COVID-19 app is easy to use. Picture: NHS

What is the NHS COVID-19 app and what does it do?

The NHS COVID-19 app is to help the UK tackle the spread of coronavirus, and is available to people living in England and Wales.

It will alert you if you have been in 'close contact' with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, and will also alert others if you yourself receive a positive test result.

'Close contact' means you have spent 15 minutes or more within a 2m radius of someone who has the virus.

You are able to use the app anonymously so that if you do fall ill, you can make the NHS - and other people - aware without identifying yourself.

The app also lets you see the risk level of your local area (based on the first half of your postcode), updated on a weekly basis.

A built in QR scanner lets you check in to participating venues, saving you from filling out a form or downloading another app.

And if you do find yourself needing to isolate, the app has a countdown function that will tell you when you are safe to resume your normal daily life.

The NHS COVID-19 app will be available on iOS and Android
The NHS COVID-19 app will be available on iOS and Android. Picture: NHS

How does the app help the NHS?

The more people who download and use the app, the easier it will be to trace people who have come in to contact with the virus.

Coronavirus is highly contagious, so by ensuring you quarantine yourself for 14 days after coming in to contact with a confirmed case, you are potentially saving tens, or even hundreds of lives.

The less people infected, the less strain will be placed on the NHS and other key workers.

How old do you need to be to use the app?

You need to be aged 16 or over to download the app.

How much does the app cost and where do I download it?

NHS COVID-19 app is a free, and is available for download in England and Wales from 24th Sept.

It is available to download for iOs devices through the app store, and for Android devices through the Google Play Store.

Is the app secure? What happens to my data?

The app protects your privacy as it uses Apple and Google’s proven Bluetooth technology, designed so that nobody will know who or where you are.

Any data shared with the app is only held on your phone, so if you decide to delete the app (which you can do at any time), all the data is deleted as well.

The app cannot track your location – it doesn’t use GPS - check or monitor if you are self-isolating, or see personal information on your phone such as messages or contacts.

All information and guidelines are found on https://covid19.nhs.uk/