Trials are due to begin this week on a new NHS app that could help in the UK’s efforts to reopen after lockdown.
The UK was placed under lockdown on March 23rd to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and in the almost six weeks since, it’s safe to say that patience among much of the British public is wearing a bit thin.
However, there is light starting to emerge at the end of the tunnel as plans to bring about the end of the quarantine period are slowly starting to emerge.
While we wait for Boris Johnson’s official plan on ending lockdown, something that is expected in a speech on Sunday, other methods are coming to the fore that could help in seeing the social distancing measures being eased.
The primary method comes in the form of an NHS track and trace app which is about to be trialled in the UK.
But what exactly is the app and how can people download it?
The NHS Track and Trace app
Similar to an app used in China, the NHS track and trace app is supposedly a way of helping the UK ease itself out of lockdown.
If you have the app on your phone, using Bluetooth it can detect other phones nearby that also have the app installed and if you or anyone you come into contact with develops coronavirus symptoms, you can be quickly informed and can self-isolate before possibly spreading the disease to someone else.
While the idea of the app certainly sounds promising, there have been lingering concerns over the privacy and effectiveness of apps such as this but according to ministers who spoke to BBC News, the app was designed with the safety of users’ privacy at the “front of mind.”
Trials of the app begin this week
Before the NHS track and trace app can be rolled out nationwide, a trial is set to take place on the Isle of Wight.
While medical professionals and key workers on the island will be given the first use of the app, a general trial is set to begin on Thursday, May 7th.
If the trial proves successful on the Isle of Wight, the app could be rolled out nationwide by the middle of May, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
How to download the NHS Track and Trace app
The NHS track and trace app will be available to download via the Apple and Android app stores once it goes live.
As mentioned, however, the app is only on trial in the Isle of Wight for the time being and no nationwide rollout has been confirmed at the time of writing.