Key workers to trial NHS virus tracing app
An NHS app that aims to track the spread of coronavirus is being rolled out for the first time, as part of a trial on the Isle of Wight.
Council and healthcare workers will be the first to try the contact-tracing app, with the rest of the island able to download it from Thursday.
If the trial is successful, it could be available nationwide within weeks.
Concerns have been raised over privacy, though ministers say the app has been designed with this "front of mind".
The app aims to quickly trace recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for the virus.
It is part of the government's strategy for coming out of lockdown, which aims to have widespread testing and contact tracing in place to monitor and reduce any future outbreaks.
If the trial is successful, the app will be rolled out nationwide by the middle of May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
How does the app work?
The new app - published on Apple and Google's app stores - works by using a Bluetooth connection. It records when two people who have the app are within a certain distance of each other for longer than a specified amount of time.
If one of those people later reports having symptoms, all the other app users they came into significant contact with over recent days will be alerted and, if judged necessary, told to self-isolate. "The exact advice on what you should do will depend on the evolving context and approach," the NHS has said.