An NHS coronavirus contact tracking application will be tested on the Isle of Wight this week before it is rolled out nationwide later in May, said Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps.
The NHSX application, which will be “completely confidential”, will have to be downloaded by more than half of the British population as part of a “huge national effort”, he added.
The smartphone app would allow the British to report any symptoms of coronavirus, with the data only visible to NHS staff.
Those who have been in contact with someone who believes they have Covid-19 would then receive an alert via the app.
An NHS coronavirus contact finder will be tested on the Isle of Wight this week before it is rolled out nationwide later in May, said Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps (photo).
“The idea is that we will encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of it,” Shapps told Sky. “It’s going to be a huge national effort and we have to make it work 50 or 60 percent of people use this app.
“Not everyone has a smartphone, and I appreciate that for a variety of reasons, not everyone downloads it, but it will be the best possible way to help the NHS. “
The transport secretary added that the app is a “fantastic way” to ensure that the country can “keep a lid” on the coronaviruses and prevent a second wave.
Shapps said he did not know how many of the 18,000 contact tracers wanted by the government had been hired.
The NHSX application, which will be “completely confidential”, will need to be downloaded by more than half of the British population as part of a “huge national effort” to operate, he added.
Pictured: police officer with megaphone asks people to continue moving around Greenwich Park, London, as the UK continues to lock in to curb the spread of coronavirus
He added, “It’s okay because the app won’t be available for a while, a few weeks yet, but when it’s there, we’ll have people in place. “
The Secretary of Transport added that Britain would not resume operations this month after Boris Johnson presented his roadmap to find out how the UK could get out of the coronavirus blockage.
He said, “I don’t think we should expect us to move away from this situation that we have at the time of social distancing to come back to our situation in February – it clearly won’t happen and I don’t think not that anyone imagines that for a moment.
“The most important thing is that the primary objective of what the Prime Minister will announce later in the week is that what we do in the future does not negate the brilliant work that people have done to achieve this R number by below 1 – the all critical reproduction rate does not return, as this is when we would see a second peak.
Pictured: an elderly couple drives past a police patrol car in Greenwich Park, London on May 2
Pictured: police in a patrol car talk to bathers in Greenwich Park, London on May 2
“So no, I’m afraid it certainly won’t be as usual, but we want to make sure people understand where the route map is. “
He added that he agreed that fewer people would have died from coronaviruses across the UK if the country had had greater testing capacity earlier.
“If we had had 100,000 testing capabilities before this thing started and the knowledge we now have in retrospect, I’m sure a lot could be different,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show .
“The fact is that this is not a country that had – although we are very big in the pharmaceutical sector as a country – we are not a country that had a very large testing capacity. “