Council staff on the Isle of Wight will be the first to test a new contact tracing app to help control the spread of coronavirus.
Council and NHS staff will be able to download the Covid-19 app from 4pm today, as part of the government’s new ‘test, track and trace’ programme. It will then be available to all residents from this Thursday.
The app is designed to significantly speed up contact tracing, by rapidly identifying people most at risk of infection. When someone reports symptoms through the app, it will detect any other app users that the person has been in significant contact with over the past few days, including unknown contacts such as someone they may have sat next to on public transport.
The app will be able to anonymously alert these contacts and provide advice, including how to get a test to confirm whether or not they do have Covid-19.
Isle of Wight council leader, Dave Stewart, said: ‘I have always been keen to ensure we keep our special community safe from the virus but at the same time explore ways to enable us to get back up on our feet and move forward from it. This scheme offers the tightly controlled approach we need to help us do just that.
’Widespread tracing and testing holds the key to this ambition and if we are able to help the country move forward then the Island will also have done its part in helping government in tackling this virus and re building our lives through safe social distancing when the time is right.
The Isle of Wight was chosen to trial the project because it has a single NHS Trust that covers all NHS services on the Island.