News, Policy & Media

06May

Isle of Wight is first UK location for Coronavirus Test, Track and Trace plan introduction

The NHS contact-tracing app is now available to residents on the Isle of Wight as part of the new Test, Track and Trace programme against the virus. The app has been developed to monitor the spread of coronavirus in the UK population and help move safely towards easing lockdown restrictions. Since Tuesday, NHS staff have had access to download the app with the rest of the island’s population able access it on their devices as of today. The Isle of Wight was selected for the app’s first roll-out as it has a single NHS trust covering all NHS services on the island.

Developed by NHSX, the technology branch of the NHS, alongside leading scientists and academics, the app will work with enhanced contact tracing services and swab testing of those with suspected cases to help individuals minimise their contact with others who are infected. When someone reports having symptoms to the app, the system will anonymously alert others who have been in significant contact with that person over the previous days. Details will be provided on how those who have been nearby infected people can access tests and the public will soon be able to order tests via the app.  

The technology fully complies with the Data Protection Act with data only ever being used for NHS care. It uses low-energy Bluetooth technology, similar to that employed by Australia, Norway and other countries. In terms of potential to combat coronavirus, academics at Oxford University’s Big Data Institute have indicated that for every 1 to 2 people who download the app, an infection can be prevented. Health secretary Matt Hancock said that ‘The Isle of Wight is playing a vital role with this pioneering work to help keep Britain safe. This will pave the way for a nationwide roll-out when the time is right.’

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