The Government’s delayed Covid-tracing app is finally launching in England and Wales tomorrow, with GP practices able to display a QR code for patients to check in on a voluntary basis.
Under new Government regulations, businesses such as restaurants and hair salons will have to download and display an individual QR code that visitors can scan upon entering their premises.
NHS settings, including GP practices, are under no contractual obligation to display a code but can do so if they wish.
People using the app, which uses Apple and Google technology, will be automatically informed if they have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Practices can download the codes online and display them as posters for patients to see as they come into the premises.
The much-delayed app was trialled in specific areas of in the UK, starting in the Isle of Wight before expanding to the London borough of Newham.
A notice from Cleveland LMC said: ‘If practices want to apply for and display a QR code they can do so voluntarily but there is no expectation or contractual requirement to do so.’
The new app comes after the Government stopped using its previous in-house built app, due to ‘a number of technical challenges’ it said were irresolvable, including technical restrictions affecting its use with Apple phones.
It uses Bluetooth to keep an anonymous log on the time and distance a person has spent near any other person using the app, so it can alert them if that individual later tests positive for Covid-19 and direct them to getting their own test.
The new version will also send alerts informing users about the Covid-19 threat level in their area.
Northern Ireland has already rolled out a similar app.