Official coronavirus app can be used by anyone who wants to

From today people can now make use of the long awaited coronavirus contact tracing app.

The NHS COVD-19 app was officially launched on Thursday morning after being hit by problems and delays over the past few months.

It uses bluetooth technology to keep an anonymous log of those in close proximity to a user and can notify them if someone who was near them later tested positive for coronavirus.

The first version, an NHSX app, was trialled on the Isle of Wight with the aim of it being rolled out more widely across the country in May.

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But by June, the Government abandoned plans for its own app, instead allowing Apple and Google to take over the project.

Now, the app is here and ready to be used by anyone who wants to.

The NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app

Below is how the app works, how to activate it and what you can expect from it as it gets rolled out across England and Wales.

How do I download the NHS Covid-19 app?

Users can download the NHS Covid-19 app from Apple's App Store on iOS or Google's Play Store for Android devices.

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Search 'NHS Covid-19'.

Users will be met with details about what the app does and a privacy notice first.

The app will then ask for permission to use Bluetooth to carry out automatic contact tracing, as well as the ability to receive notifications, should someone you have been near report symptoms or have a positive test returned.

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How do I sign up?

It's free, easy and takes no time at all.

  1. First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.
  2. Once you're there, put your email address where it says at the top, then click on the News button. There are other newsletters available too if you want them as well.
  3. When you've made your choice, press the Update Preference button at the bottom.

Prompts will appear on-screen asking people to allow the app to access these features.

Next, you will need to provide the first part of your postcode, which is used to show the risk level in your local area.

What does the app look like?

The main screen will pulse green to show that the app is active.

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Along the top you can see the risk level in your local area.

Below there are a series of options to choose from, including venue check-in and report symptoms.

How does the app help you stay safe?

The app will allow you to do everything from reporting symptoms to checking in at a bar or restaurant. Here's what you need to know:

1. Check in to a bar or restaurant

The "venue check-in" option lets people scan a QR code rather than manually providing contact tracing details.

Elsewhere, users can tap "About" at the top of the main screen to see a list of the places they have checked in.

There is also the option to delete all data here.

See how coronavirus has affected your area by entering your postcode below

2. Report symptoms

Here people can tap the symptoms they have and indicate when these started appearing.

It will then advise you to isolate and a countdown will commence based on the date provided.

A button at the bottom directs people to the Government website where they can then book a test.

The results will be sent in the usual way via email or text message, but also within the app.

After doing this, the green pulsing on the home screen of the app will change to red and show you how many days of isolation you have left.

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