NHS Covid-19 app: 10m downloads – and lots of questions

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NHS Covid-19 app: 10m downloads - and lots of questions

By Rory Cellan-Jones & Zoe Kleinman
Know-how reporters

Associated Matters

  • Coronavirus pandemic

picture copyrightGetty Pictures

The federal government says greater than 10 million individuals throughout England and Wales have downloaded the NHS Covid-19 app since its launch on 24 September.

The Division for Well being and Social Care has emphasised that utilizing it’s voluntary.

It additionally says the steerage the app points about whether or not to self-isolate or get a take a look at shouldn’t be enforceable by regulation.

The app itself might look easy, nevertheless it has thrown up plenty of questions on the way it works and what its limits are.

This is our try and reply a few of your queries:

Why cannot I sign off of a location after I’ve logged in?

A characteristic of the app is its potential to scan a QR barcode to log in at a pub, restaurant or different location – an alternative choice to really handing over your contact particulars to that enterprise on a paper log or web site (although in Wales you continue to have to do each).

picture captionEating places and different leisure services are speculated to show a singular QR code on the entrance to every of their properties

However individuals have observed that when you can log in you can not sign off, and even in the event you quickly depart the app thinks you’re nonetheless there till midnight until you log in some place else.

The purpose nevertheless of the QR scan is simply to register your presence at that location slightly than your proximity to somebody infectious, which is registered through the Bluetooth contact-tracing characteristic.

If the placement is later recognized as a virus hotspot then an alert could also be despatched out to anybody who scanned a QR code there – to not self-isolate, however to be looking out for any signs of the virus.

However you can’t be alerted that any person arrived within the pub hours after you left, and so they later examined constructive, as a result of your telephones couldn’t have been bodily shut to one another on the identical time.

Why cannot I enter a destructive take a look at end result?

On Friday it emerged that some take a look at outcomes have been arriving with out the code wanted to register them within the app. By Saturday night the Division of Well being mentioned

codes would now be provided with all positive test results, through a cellphone name from the contact tracing staff.

picture copyrightGetty Pictures

However some are asking why there is not a code for a destructive end result, particularly as a self-isolation countdown begins as quickly as somebody registers that they’ve signs.

There appear to be a few solutions. When you’ve been informed to self-isolate as a result of you’ve got been involved with an contaminated particular person, then you’re supposed to take action no matter whether or not you take a look at destructive your self.

If you’re the possibly contaminated particular person, then no person can be notified through the app with out a constructive end result. Nevertheless, it does imply it’s important to stay with the timer because it can’t be de-activated – however as we mentioned, adhering to this isn’t legally enforceable.

Then there’s the truth that the intention is that you simply now prepare your take a look at through the app after reporting signs. On this case, the outcomes – constructive, destructive or void, (which suggests a retest is required) – can be registered robotically within the app with none have to enter a code.

Why would not the placement change once I transfer round?

While you first obtain the app it asks for a part of your postcode. You then get a message on the homescreen telling you what the chance stage in your space is.

Why would not this variation if you transfer someplace – as an illustration when a pupil leaves residence to go to college?

Proper initially of the app’s growth, privateness campaigners expressed concern in regards to the authorities monitoring individuals – and a promise was made that location monitoring wouldn’t be a characteristic of this app.

There may be nevertheless a manner of fixing that postcode with out reinstalling the app. Go to “About this app”, then “Handle my knowledge” and you’ll then be capable of edit your postcode.

picture copyrightNHS

Why would not it work on my cellphone?

Quite a lot of individuals – particularly these with iPhones sooner than the 6S which went on sale in 2015 – are discovering that they’re unable to put in the app on their cellphone.

This isn’t as a consequence of a choice by the app’s builders however is a limitation imposed by Apple and Google. They’ve designed the toolkit on which this and plenty of different contact-tracing apps world wide are primarily based – and so they have decided that older telephones wouldn’t be appropriate for working the know-how behind the app.

I get notifications which then disappear – what is going on on?

Quite a lot of individuals have reported getting notifications about publicity to the virus after which not with the ability to discover out what they should do.

It seems that this once more could also be related to the Apple-Google system, which generally sends out what are known as publicity notifications. This is what the FAQ from the app team says about this concern:

“These are default messages from Apple and Google. There is no such thing as a must be involved in the event you miss or overlook them, they’re simply seen to remind you that the performance is on and dealing. You are presently not capable of flip off these default Apple and Google notifications.

“Vital messages from the NHS Covid-19 app will at all times be seen to you from contained in the app.”

Like different apps, NHS Covid-19 will get updates and new options. And the NHS is inviting people to send in any feedback about issues they’ve confronted or options which may enhance the app.

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