The NHS is creating a contact tracing app to notify people if they have been near someone with coronavirus .
It will ask people to self-report, and alert other users anonymously if they have been in close contact with someone who develops symptoms.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the move today, saying: ‘As we ramp up our ability to test in large numbers, we also need to make sure we have the ability to trace contacts just as effectively.
‘So today I wanted to outline the next step: A new NHS app for contact tracing.
‘If you become unwell with the symptoms of coronavirus , you can securely tell this new NHS app. The app will then send an alert anonymously to other app users that you’ve been in significant contact with over the past few days, even before you had symptoms, so that they know and can act accordingly.
‘All data will be handled according to the highest ethical and security standards and would only be used for NHS care and research and we won’t hold it any longer than is needed.
‘As part of our commitment to transparency, we will be publishing the source code too.
‘We are already testing this app and as we do this we are working with the world’s leading tech companies and renowned experts in clinical safety and digital ethics so that we can get this right.’
According to the Sunday Times , the app would use Bluetooth to work out if people had been in the vicinity of someone with coronavirus.
It will be combined with an increase in testing, allowing people to find out if they are infected.
A Whitehall source told the paper: ‘We believe this could be important in helping the country return to normality.’
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