How to download the NHS Test and Trace and how it tracks coronavirus cases

More than one million people have downloaded the app so far.More than one million people have downloaded the app so far.
More than one million people have downloaded the app so far.
The NHS covid-19 test and trace app has officially launched – here’s everything you need to know.

After months of delays, the NHS coronavirus test and trace app has finally launched in England today, (September 24) with a strapline that says ‘Protect your loved ones. Get the app.’

The app has undergone trials in the Isle of Wight, as well as the London Borough of Newham, and has now been released for public trialling.

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It features several tools to protect people including, contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in.

UK government Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer, and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The main features of the app include:

QR check-in: This will enable users to easily check-in at a venue and alert them if they have recently visited somewhere they may have come into contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19.

Alert: This feature can be used by users to check the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode.

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Symptoms: App users can check if they have coronavirus symptoms and see if they need to order a free test.

Test: This will allow people to book a free test through the app and get results to find out if they have COVID-19.

Isolate: If a user is told to self-isolate, a timer feature will appear to help count down that period, and the relevant advice will be provided.

How do I download it?

The app can be found under the name NHS Covid-19 on Apple’s App Store and on the Google Play Store for Android users.

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Once users have located the app in the relevant app store, they can download it for free, just as they would download any other application.

To download and use the app, you must be aged 16 and over.

How does the app work?

The contact tracing element of the app works by using low-energy Bluetooth to log the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.

The app will then tell you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Another feature of the app is that it will enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.

Is my data safe?

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Concerns have been raised over the security and privacy of people that download the app - however, the app will collect hardly any personal information from users.

You don’t need to create an account to use it, meaning you won’t have to supply an email, telephone or home address, though it will ask users for a postcode when they first open the app.

According to a document put out by the NHS relating to privacy, ”The app has been designed to use as little personal data and information as possible.

“All the data that could directly identify you is held on your phone and not shared anywhere else.”

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