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Residents of the Isle of Wight, the London borough Newham, and NHS volunteer responders across England will be part of a new contact tracing app trial, the Department for Health and Social Care has said.
The app will include alerts based on postcode, QR check-in at venues, a symptom checker and a way to book tests, using Google and Apple-developed technology.
Trials will start from Thursday on the Isle of Wight and with NHS volunteer responders across England, followed shortly by people in Newham - one of the most diverse and densely populated communities in Europe.
The trial follows the government ditching efforts to develop its own technology in June amid accuracy issues and concerns about privacy.
Health secretary Matt Hancock had suggested it would be available in mid-May.
The second version adopts an Apple and Google-developed system – already used in several countries across the world – which handles data in a more privacy-friendly manner, using bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of people a user has been close to that they may not know, such as a stranger on a bus.
It will log the time and distance a user has spent near to anyone, even if they don’t know them, so it can alert them if necessary if that person later tests positive for Covid-19.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said it was “essential” to “get the country moving again so people can get back to doing what they love”.
“Our statistics show more people with symptoms are getting tested and NHS Test and Trace reaches the vast majority of people testing positive, and their contacts.”
He added: “We’ve worked with tech companies, international partners, privacy and medical experts to develop an app that is simple to use, secure and will help keep the country safe.”
Dido Harding, who runs the NHS Test and Trace programme, said while there was “no silver bullet” when it came to tackling coronavirus the app was a “great step forward”.
The government said the Isle of Wight had been chosen again for a trial as it is a controlled geographical area which would allow the service to particularly test features like the QR code check-in and the alert and contact tracing reliability.
Newham has been selected, the department said, as it is an area with a diverse population who might be more at risk to the virus and trialling the app there would ensure that it meets the needs of a range of different communities.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.