How a new app, built by the NHS, will help slow the spread of coronavirus whilst protecting your privacy
NHS COVID-19 is a new contact-tracing app that has been designed and built by the NHS to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Once you’ve installed the app, it will send you an alert if you’ve been in close contact with other users of the app who’ve reported that they’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms. This allows you to take steps to avoid passing the virus on (for example by self-isolating).
- If you’d like to install the app (it’s entirely voluntary), you’ll be helping to slow the transmission of the coronavirus.
- You can decide if you want to tell the app that you’re suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
- The app does not collect any of your personal data.
- Any information you choose to submit is protected at all times.
- Any information you submit is deleted once it is no longer needed to help manage the spread of coronavirus
How does the app work?
The NHS COVID-19 app was designed and built by the NHS digital team, and works like this:
- Once you’ve installed the app on your phone, it can detect (using Bluetooth) if other phones that are also running the app are nearby.
- Importantly, the app knows how close it has been to other phones running the app, and for how long. This allows the app to build up an idea of which of these phones owners are most at risk.
- If you then use the app to report that you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, all the phones that have been nearby will receive an alert from the app.
- Users reading the alert will now know they may have been near a person with coronavirus, and can then self-isolate.
- If the NHS later discovers that your diagnosis was wrong (and your reported symptoms are not coronavirus), the other users will receive another alert, letting them know if they can stop self-isolating.
Please download and use the NHS COVID-19 app. Each time a user reports symptoms (or even just installs the app), it helps the NHS to warn people who may become ill, and builds a picture of how the coronavirus is spread across the country.
Source: National Cyber Security Centre