People across the borough of Hounslow are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app.
Published: Friday, 2nd October 2020
People across the borough of Hounslow are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.
The app, which has been downloaded over 10 million times, launched on Thursday 24 September. After positive trials and rigorous testing the app is an important new tool to work alongside traditional contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the virus.
To support the launch, NHS street teams took to the Hounslow Blenheim Centre to help explain and demonstrate the app, and to encourage the public to download it.
Councillor Candice Atterton, Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health at Hounslow Council, went down to meet the NHS street team in action. She said:
“It was great to meet the NHS street team and see them talking to local residents about the new NHS COVID-19 app. We know that cases are rising in Hounslow and across London and we all need to play our part to protect our family, friends and neighbours. People who have been in contact with symptomatic individuals will be identified much earlier than is currently the case, and they will be provided with advice so they can act appropriately to protect themselves and our community. Once the app has been downloaded, customers can easily scan the QR code when they enter local businesses. I encourage residents to download the app and help keep Hounslow safe.”
The app is available to people aged 16 and over in multiple languages. It forms a central part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme - identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.
The UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.
The contact tracing element of the app works by using low-energy Bluetooth to log the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.
The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.
The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus not people, and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth (not GPS). These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.
The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. No personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.