The British government showed screenshots of some NHS Contact Tracker apps before testing the public on the Isle of Wight later this week,media outlet Neowin reported. The app allows users to record whether they have COVID-19 symptoms, and then it can alert others nearby. Since the notification is sent before a person actually tests positive for COVID-19, it is unclear whether the user will abuse the system.
The app has been tested at the Royal Air Force Base and will be available to NHS and council staff on the Isle of Wight from Tuesday. Starting Thursday, the system will be open to residents in other parts of the island. Residents in other parts of the UK will not be able to download the app until mid-May.
According to the British government, users who are told they are close to a suspected COVID-19 carrier will be given instructions on how to test for the disease. The company also said users would soon be able to book testing items directly on the app. Users who can’t access the app will also be able to report symptoms and booking tests in other ways.
NHS and council staff will send a download link to NHS and council staff on the Isle of Wight on Tuesday afternoon, while other residents of the island will receive a brochure with instructions on how to download the app. The UK government said a “targeted campaign” would also begin on Friday to encourage users to download the app.
The government also said the app would allow the UK to take the first step out of the blockade. Experts will be able to use the app to quickly detect any area where COVID-19 begins to erupt and mitigate the spread. The government is now deciding on the best way to gradually lift the blockade on the premise of “keeping citizens safe and protecting” the NHS.