Residents and businesses are being urged to play their part to protect their family and friends by downloading the new NHS COVID-19 app.
The app has launched nationwide today, Thursday 24 September, and can now be downloaded onto smartphones from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
It allows you to report symptoms, book or order a coronavirus test, and check in to venues by scanning a QR code, helping the NHS trace individuals who may have coronavirus.
The app will help the NHS understand where, and how quickly, the virus is spreading, so it can respond appropriately. It does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where a particular user is.
It is designed to notify its users if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, and it needs to be downloaded by as many people as possible in the borough to track the virus and stop its spread.
The app is supported by new regulations, which also come into force today, which state that certain venues are legally required to display NHS QR posters. This includes all venues from the following sectors:
- leisure and tourism
- close contact services
- places of worship
- local authority venues
The QR posters will allow app users to scan the QR code to ‘check-in’ as they enter a venue. This means that if people visit the venue and later test positive for coronavirus, other app users who were there at the same time can be alerted.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “The new app will help us to tackle the virus by providing important information about virus hotspots, how to avoid it, and what to do if you have come into contact with someone who has it.
“I have downloaded it, and I urge everyone to do the same. By doing this, it will be a constructive way for us all to play our part to protect our friends, family, and others in our community.
“This is one of a number of actions you can take to help stop the spread of infections in Warrington. We must all continue to do the basics – wash our hands often, wear face coverings, keep our distance from others, and seek a test if we have symptoms.
Thara Raj, Warrington’s Director of Public Health, said: “The roll-out of the app is an additional tool to support test and trace measures, helping to stop the spread of coronavirus and safeguard our communities.
“In order for the app to be effective, we need as many people as possible to download and use it, and we also need our local businesses to support us. The QR system is a free, easy and effective way to check-in customers, and I would ask that all businesses get involved and download and display the official NHS QR code posters.”
The council has been assured that the app works by using an anonymous alert (using a random identification number known as a ‘random ID’). This means that interactions with other app users remain completely private, so users’ privacy and identity are protected.
No personal information about users is revealed, and the app does not track users, or their location, and does not have access to phone contacts or any personal information held on a phone. Nobody, including the government, will know the identity or location of users.
The National Cyber Security Centre also checks that the app is safe and secure, and users can delete the app and all the data it stores, whenever they choose.
Find out more about the app on our website at warrington.gov.uk/TestandTrace.