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NHS launched the COVID-19 app, now England and Wales support exposure notice



The British government today launched its NHS COVID-19 app in the App Store. The app supports the privacy-protecting Apple/Google Exposure Notifications API and helps track contacts across the country.

iPhone users can immediately enter the App Store and download the app for free; your device must be running iOS 13.5 or later. The corresponding application will also be available in the Google Play store on Android devices.

After initially investing in a centralized server model in April, the government succumbed to public pressure and promised to change direction and develop applications based on Apple and Google frameworks. Eventually, it was opened to the public for citizens of England and Wales to participate. Similar applications have been launched in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If the user is close to a person reporting positive for COVID-1

9, the system’s Exposure Notifications API allows regional health applications to send alerts to the user. Apple and Google API are designed to protect privacy and save energy. After agreeing to the permission dialog in the app, your device will passively collect hashed anonymous identifiers from nearby iPhone and Android devices that have also been registered with the NHS app.

If someone is reported to be positive for COVID-19, their anonymous identifier will be published on the server. This allows your device to check its local identifier set to see if there is a match. If a match is found, you will be shown a COVID-19 exposure notification alert. (Please note that the system works normally without sharing any user-identifiable information or your precise location.)

You can manage your “Exposure Notification” preferences in “Settings”. Just navigate to the “Exposure Notification” pane in the “Settings” app.

The NHS COVID-19 app also includes a QR code scanner, which is expected to be used by British citizens when visiting public places such as restaurants to record their visits to the premises. The government will use the information they collect from QR code scans to assist with manual contracts.

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