'Second phase' of UK COVID-19 app launched on the Isle of Wight


The government has announced the relaunch of the NHS Test and Trace app, having originally scrapped the solution’s first iteration earlier in the year.

According to a statement from the Department of Health and Social Care, trials began at the end of last week, once again taking place on the Isle of Wight. NHS Volunteer responders will also be involved, alongside - eventually - residents from the London Borough of Newham.

The system is designed to generate a random ID representing a user’s smart device. This is exchanged between handsets in order to monitor the spread of the virus, while “rotating frequently” to prevent tracking.

Speaking of the solution, a spokesperson said: “The NHS Test and Trace app uses the latest in security technology, and is designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people. 

“England’s NHS Test and Trace programme has worked closely with major tech companies, including Google and Apple. [It has also worked with] the Alan Turing Institute, medical experts, privacy groups, at-risk communities and teams in countries across the world.

“The solution is designed to log the time and distance a user has spent near to anyone, even if they don’t know them. It can then alert them if that person later tests positive for COVID-19.”

Dido Harding, executive chair of the NHS Test and Trace Programme, said: “By launching an app that supports our integrated, localised approach, anyone with a smartphone will be able to find out if they are at risk of having caught the virus.

“The app is a great step forward and will complement all of the work we are doing with local areas across the country to reach more people in their communities. I am hugely grateful to the Isle of Wight, Newham and the NHS responders for playing their part.”

The first phase of the NHS track and trace solution was launched in May of this year. It was subsequently scrapped in June due to issues around data storage and interoperability. 

For the latest on the use of cutting edge communications technology to fight COVID-19, register your interest and join us at BAPCO 2021

Media contact

Philip Mason
Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216