How does the NHS Track and Trace app work? And how do they contact you? Important questions answered

5 October 2020, 11:47

The NHS track and trace app was launched in September
The NHS track and trace app was launched in September. Picture: PA Images/Getty Images

Do you get a notification from the NHS Covid Track and Trace app? Find out how the app works...

With coronavirus cases rising in the UK, the government launched a brand new Test, track and trace app in England and Wales this September.

The Bluetooth-based contact tracing app aims to alert people when they have been near someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, which allows them to monitor their own symptoms.

But how does it work and how does the NHS contact you? Find out everything…

How does the NHS Track and Trace app work?

The NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app for England and Wales is available to download now for Android and iPhone from Google Play and the App Store.

BVoris Johnson announced the new NHS app in September
BVoris Johnson announced the new NHS app in September. Picture: PA Images

The app works by detecting when someone else using the app is nearby, with the two phones connecting via Bluetooth.

This means that if the phones are close for a long enough time, and one of the owners shares they have coronavirus via the app, then the other will receive an alert to say they are at risk.

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The app can also be used to check in at venues such as shops, universities, bars and restaurants.

These venues have been asked to display posters with a QR code at the front of their premises, which app users will be able to scan with their cameras.

Using this information, the app will help to identify close contacts of a user who tests positive for coronavirus, as well those who have attended a building which has suffered an outbreak.

This app is just for England and Wales, but Scotland launched their own app in September, and Northern Ireland launched one in July.

How does the NHS test and trace services contact you?

The app will send users an alert if they have been close to someone who has tested positive.

They may call you from 0300 013 5000 or send you text messages from 'NHS'.

You may be asked for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating.

If you are approached because one of your close contacts has tested positive, you must stay at home for 14 days from your last point of contact with them.

You must self-isolate, even if you don't have symptoms.

Others in your household won't have to self-isolate unless they also develop symptoms, but must take extra care around you regarding social distancing and hand washing.

The Covid NHS app also allows users to track symptoms and book a Covid-19 test if they are suffering.

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