NHS app: When will track and trace app be available for whole of UK?2020-05-18
The NHS COVID-19 app could help bring about an end to lockdown measures across Britain. The Government has announced the contact tracing app could help ease coronavirus restrictions while ensuring members of the public are not put at unnecessary risk. Currently, the app is being trialled in the Isle of Wight, but when will it be launched across the rest of the UK?
The Government launched the trial of the NHS app across the Isle of Wight 10 days ago.
Figures reveal 65 percent of people have installed the app exceeding all expectations.
The Conservative MP for Isle of Wight, Bob Seely told Sky News: “We are well ahead of what we hoped.
“When the figure goes above 20 percent you begin to get good evidence, over 50 percent and you start suppressing the virus and over 60 percent and you get the benefits of the app working.”
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The contact tracing app using a smartphone’s Bluetooth technology to register contact when people come within six feet of one another for at least 15 minutes.
If a person then develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must inform the NHS and an alert is then sent to those they have come into contact with.
The Government has said the app is “completely confidential” and will not reveal the identity of an infected person.
Users will remain anonymous up to the point where they can volunteer their own details to a member of the contact tracing army.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock faced backlash from the public for only recruiting 1,500 contact tracers by mid-May.
On Monday, Mr Hancock said contact tracing will be rolled out and confirmed 21,000 contact tracers have now been hired.
At the weekend this figure was at 17,000, but the Health Secretary set himself a target of hitting 18,000 by this week.
The 21,000-strong team includes 7,500 healthcare professionals.
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Speaking from the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said: “Today I can confirm that we have recruited over 21,000 contact tracers in England.
“This includes 7,500 health care professionals who will provide our call handlers with expert clinical advice.
“They will help manually trace the contacts of anyone who’s had a positive test and advise them on whether they need to isolate.
“They have rigorous training with detailed procedures designed by our experts at Public Health England.
“They have stepped up to serve their county in its hour of need and I want to thank them in advance for the lifesaving work that they’re about to do.”
During Monday’s daily news conference, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab faced questions about the progress of the contact tracing app’s nationwide rollout.
Originally the scheme was due to be launched nationwide in mid-May after the Isle of Wight trial.
But the Government has admitted the coronavirus tracing app has now missed its deadline and will be delayed.
Mr Raab said the Government is making good progress with contact tracing and it will be rolled out in the “coming weeks”.
He added he was unable to expand more on this at this time.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman declined to explain why the original deadline has been missed.
He said: “It remains our aim to roll out the app across the country in the coming weeks.”
The spokesman added: “As with any tech project of this size you would expect us to keep all options under review to make sure the app is as effective as possible.”
NHS chief executive Matthew Gould said the app will be two to three weeks away for the rest of the country.
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