NHSX hopes to test contact-tracing app within two weeks

Software should be ready to roll out within next month, tech body says

Credit: Piqsels

The NHS contact tracing app will be ready for use in two to three weeks, MPs have been told.

The app will alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus and will also allow users to pass on information to others if they develop symptoms or test positive for Covid-19.

Appearing before MPs on the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould said the body, which is responsible for digital transformation of health and social care in England, was working on it “full pelt”.

“We hope in the next couple of weeks we’ll be in a position to roll it out in a small area,” he told the committee.

“I think given that this is essentially new technology and part of a wider strategy with several moving  parts, it makes sense to see how it might work locally before going nationally, so I would hope we would be ready in the next couple of weeks in a controlled and relatively small environment before scaling up.”

While mass deployment depends on the wider strategy for lifting restrictions, Gould said the app could be technically ready in under three weeks.

He said: “Subject to it performing in the trials and the smaller area in the way we expect, I would expect it technically to be ready for wider deployment in two to three weeks. If it is then deployed depends on the wider strategy.”

The app is expected to play a vital part of and testing strategy for lifting lockdown, which will also include manual contact tracing.


Sam Trendall

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