The software is designed to help contain the spread of Covid-19 by alerting users whenever they’ve been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for the virus. Until now, the UK Track and Trace system has relied on people handing over their contact information, including name and mobile number, when booking tables in restaurants, taking part in gym classes, or ordering in their local pub.
With the app installed, smartphone owners will be automatically sent a notification and issued with further guidance if they’ve been in the same venue, public transport, or in close proximity outside, without someone who tested positive for the infection.
NHS COVID-19, which is available to people in England and Wales (with separate apps for Scotland and Northern Ireland), will send you a message whenever you’ve been close to someone who has tested positive. When that happens, the NHS will employ a “risk-assessment” algorithm
Police officers in England and Wales are to be told they can download the NHS Covid-19 app on to their personal smartphones and use them at work.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) issued the guidance after carrying out its own technical review of the software.
Individual officers and other police staff will be informed on Wednesday.
The NPCC had previously advised officers not to download the app on any device, while it reviewed its impact.
And they will still be told not to install it on work handsets.
These typically have their Bluetooth functionality disabled.
And the automated contact-tracing process relies on Bluetooth’s wireless signals.
An NPCC spokesman told BBC News some personnel involved in covert and special operations as well as other sensitive roles would also be told to consider not installing the app on any phone until further guidance was issued.