The new NHS COVID-19 app is now available to download. It is part of the large-scale NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and contact tracing programme and will be used to notify users if they come into close contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus. ‘Close contact’ generally means you have been within 2 metres of someone for 15 minutes or more.

The six key features of the app are:

Trace: For contact tracing, the app detects and logs other nearby app users using random unique IDs. If any of those users later test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), you will receive an exposure alert with advice on what to do.

Alert: When you first register for the app you will be asked for the first half of your postcode. You can check the app every day to see whether where you live has become a high risk area for coronavirus. If it is, you will also receive a notification to let you know. This will help you make daily decisions to protect yourself and those around you.

Check in: The app allows you to record when you visit a venue by “checking-in” when you arrive, using the venue’s QR code. The app records the time you spend at the venue without recording any personal information. You will receive an alert, if you have recently visited a venue where you have come into contact with coronavirus.

Symptoms: If you feel unwell, you can use the app to check if your symptoms could be related to coronavirus (COVID-19). The app will give you a list of potential symptoms and you can then choose the ones that apply to you. It will then tell you if your symptoms suggest you have coronavirus.

Test: If you have coronavirus symptoms, the app will take you to a website where you can book a test to see if you have coronavirus or not.

Isolate: If you have been advised by the app to self-isolate, the app provides a countdown timer so that you can keep track of how long you need to self-isolate. When you reach the end of your self-isolation period, the app will send you a notification reminder with a link to the latest advice for you.

Using the app on campus

You will see QR code posters around campus, both in and outside of buildings. This includes catering venues, teaching buildings and classrooms, the Library and social spaces.

On entering each building, you can use the app to ‘check-in’ by scanning the QR code with your phone. Whilst not compulsory, in order to help us manage the risk of coronavirus in our community, we strongly encourage everyone to get into the habit of ‘checking-in’ every time you enter a building or venue with a QR code.

In some buildings there will be a QR code at the entrance and also inside individual rooms. However, you only need to ‘check in’ once per building – the additional QR codes are displayed to make it easier for you to do this.

You will need to ensure you have Bluetooth activated while on campus to register your ‘check-ins’ and receive alerts.

We will not have access to this data or be able to track anyone’s movements.

To download the app on both Android and iPhone devices, simply visit the Google Play Store or Apple App store from your phone and search for the NHS COVID-19 app.

Why do some venues ask me to leave my contact details?

For some venues (including bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as museums and the Library) we are legally required to keep a log of visitors in case we are contacted by NHS Test & Trace to say that someone who visited has tested positive. This would enable the NHS to contact anyone who had come into close contact with that person. In these venues you must either scan the QR code or, if you prefer not to use the app, provide your details using the alternative at that venue. If you do not do so, we may have to refuse you entry to the venue.

What if the app warns me of coronavirus?

The app is closely aligned to NHS coronavirus testing – if an app user you have come into close contact with tests positive, you will receive an alert. You will then be instructed to self-isolate and order a test.

This form of contact tracing reduces the time it takes to alert those who have been in close contact.

Support for students who need to self-isolate or get a test

We have published information about support for students who need to self-isolate, as well as further guidance about how to get a test.

If a student tests positive, they need to follow the advice on Essentials:

  • Follow all government advice to self-isolate (stay at home)
  • Follow all instructions from the NHS and engage with the Test & Trace system (including advising Test & Trace that they are connected to the University)
  • Notify the University using our online form
  • Report their absence to their School in the usual way
  • If they live in University halls, use the Home at Halls app to notify the team so they can offer support
  • Let all members of their household know, as they will need to self-isolate in line with government advice

Further information

To find out more about the app, as well as its other functionalities, please visit the NHS website.

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