THE NHS Covid-19 app has been breaking chains of transmission to protect users and their communities since its launch in September, a statement said.
Over 1.7 million app users across England and Wales have been advised to isolate by the app following a close contact with someone who goes on to test positive, new data shows. It also prevented 600,000 cases.
The app sends alerts to close contacts of a Covid-19 patient to tell them to isolate as quickly as 15 minutes after an app user enters a positive result into it.
The app has now been downloaded 21.63 million times. Research by the Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University shows for every 1 per cent increase in app users, the number of coronavirus cases in the population can be reduced by 2.3 per cent.
“The NHS Covid-19 App is an important tool in our pandemic response. We know it has instructed hundreds of thousands of at-risk people to self-isolate since it launched in September – including me – and this analysis shows it has been hugely effective at breaking chains of transmission, preventing an estimated 600,000 cases,” said health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.
“Isolating and knowing when you have been at risk of catching coronavirus is essential to stopping the spread of this virus, and the app is the quickest way to notify you if you are at risk.”
Besides, contact tracing and booking a test the app allows users to check their symptoms via the symptom checker. Coronavirus symptoms have been reported into the app over 1.4 million times in England and Wales since 24 September.
Over 3.1 million test results have been entered into the app across England and Wales, of which 825,388 were positive.
Baroness Dido Harding said: “The app, which works as a part of the wider NHS Test and Trace programme in England, helps us to reach more people quickly to protect communities, by notifying contacts as quickly as 15 minutes after a user enters a positive result. It continues to protect our essential workers during this lockdown, and will continue to play an important role in the future as we come out of national restrictions.”
Director of product for the NHS Covid-19 app, Gaby Appleton said: It is great that over 56 per cent of the eligible population have already downloaded the NHS Covid-19 app. The more people who download the app the better it works, and now more than ever every new user makes a difference.”
A total of 253 venues were identified as ‘at risk’ as a result of an outbreak since 10 December, triggering ‘warn and inform’ alerts to app users who had checked into those venues, the statement further said.
The app is now compatible with other contact tracing apps across the UK, protecting users who travel to Scotland, Jersey, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar.
As of December, self-isolation support payments have been available to users in England who have been instructed to isolate. In Wales NHS Covid-19 app users have been eligible to apply for the SISS since 1st February.