Coronavirus outbreak: United Kingdom reveals details about contact tracing app

Joanna Estrada
May 6, 2020

The contact-tracing app will be available across the whole country in a few weeks if the trial is successful, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a daily news briefing on Monday.

"The NHS app uses this centralised model, but also protects your security and privacy strongly".

The app aims to quickly trace recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for the virus.

Setting out details of the Isle of Wight trial, Mr Hancock said: "Last week we put in place the testing capability on the island".

In addition, the system takes into account the number of contacts with people who have reported symptoms and the number of their contacts to estimated the risk of infection. "The app uses low-energy Bluetooth, not Global Positioning System, and therefore it does not track people's locations or record their locations".

Those without a smartphone can report symptoms by phone or other routes.

"I guess it's a case of how tightly this is controlled", he said.

DUP councillor Kyle Black, whose prison officer father was murdered by dissident Republicans, told the Belfast Telegraph that it is crucial all security protection measures have been taken by the government.

"Firstly because the data is stored on your phone until you need to get in contact with the NHS in order to get a test, and secondly because the purposes of this are purely and simply to control the spread of the virus, which is really important", he said.

As previously reported, Isle of Wight Radio journalist Oliver Dyer asked how the Government meant to get the Island's elderly population on board and whether the roll-out of the app would result in the easing of lockdown measures here.

"My 80-year-old dad never even had a mobile phone let alone a smart phone so it's not going to happen", says Paul Griffin, the owner of a dairy farm, café and farmshop on the island, whose family have been farmers here since 1923.

There are now more than 190,000 people who have tested positive across the country and around 4,000 people test positive on daily basis.

Unlike Germany, the United Kingdom has chosen not to use technology jointly developed by Google and Apple that would only store data locally on individual devices.

"Thirdly, because we've all had to give up significant infringements on our liberty, for instance with the social distancing measures and the lockdown, and we want to release those, and this approach will help us to release them ..."

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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