NHS Test and Trace app launches after long delays
The new test and trace app has launched after four months of delays to help battle the spread of coronavirus.
Health officials are urging anyone aged 16 or over to download the software for free, which will alert users if they have come into contact with anyone who later tests positive for the disease.
The NHS Covid-19 app works by logging the time and distance a user has spent near others who have installed the technology onto their phones.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this month: “We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology.
“The launch of the app across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time."
Studies conducted by University of Oxford academics have concluded that the app can significantly reduce deaths and hospital admissions, provided at least 15% of the population sign up.
The download is also equipped with a venue QR code scanner, a tool users can report their symptoms on and a system through which people can order a test.
In addition, it has a timer that counts down a person's time left in self-isolation.
Mr Hancock added: “It is vital we are using the NHS Test and Trace system to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and stop this virus in its tracks.
"This function will make it simple and easy so we can keep this virus under control.”
The app was originally intended to be launched at the end May - but a number of issues forced it to be delayed.
Google and Apple joined the project in June, after the government abandoned its initial designs.
The app launched at midnight and is only available for smartphones.
It comes after it was revealed anumber of schools across the county have already been affected by coronavirus since they reopened.