England and Wales to launch COVID tracing app on Sept. 24

The NHS Covid-19 contact tracing logo on a green, blue, and yellow background

The U.K. government has announced that England and Wales will launch a COVID-19 contact tracing app to the general public on September 24. The two countries will be the last in the United Kingdom to launch a contact tracing app with Northern Ireland launching one in July and Scotland launching its app last week.

The new contact tracing app that’ll be used in England and Wales has been in a trial phase since the middle of August. Residents of Newham in London and the Isle of Wight have been able to help beta test the app.

Unlike the centralised app which the government originally opted to pursue, the new app will use Bluetooth to detect nearby people but will also let you scan QR codes when you attend a venue. If anyone who visited the venue tests positive for coronavirus you will be notified and told to isolate yourself.

Discussing the QR codes, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

"QR codes provide an easy and simple way to collect contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

Hospitality businesses can now download posters for their premises ahead of the launch of the NHS COVID-19 app. This will allow the public to seamlessly check-in to venues using the app when it launches."

If the app detects that you may have coronavirus, the nice green circle will turn an alarming red and will let you know that you need to isolate yourself until a certain time and day. In England, if you do not follow the isolation instruction you can be fined, however, your usage of the app is anonymous so authorities can’t tell if you’re flouting the rules.

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