A new Covid-19 contact-tracing app will be launched across Wales and England on the 24th of September.

The NHS COVID-19 app is deemed an important part of Wales’ Test Trace Protect programme to control the spread of Covid-19.

The Welsh Government has indicated in their guidance, that until we have a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, we need to stop the spread of coronavirus by testing and contact tracing. The Government are encouraging people to use the app, as this will improve our chances of reducing the spread of the virus.

The app will:

  • let you know if you have been near someone who now has coronavirus symptoms
  • give you advice on coronavirus that is relevant to you
  • allow you to check your symptoms
  • take you to a website where you can book a test if you have symptoms
  • provide a self-isolation countdown timer if required

By downloading and utilising the app (available for download from the Apple app store or Google Play store from the 24th September), we can help to keep the country safe.

It is understood that the app will not hold any personal information about you or track your location. It will use your postcode district to tell you if your area is at risk. When you download the app you will be asked to share the first 4 letters and digits of your postcode with NHS Wales. A postcode district generally contains about 8,000 addresses. This means that your specific location cannot be identified.

The app is free and uses Bluetooth technology to track time and distance between smartphone devices. It also offers a QR code check-in capability. The government is urging venues to display the NHS QR code posters on entry, so individuals who have downloaded the app can use their smartphones to easily check-in. This is designed to allow NHS Test and Trace, as well as the Test, Trace, Protect here in Wales, to contact customers with public health advice should there be a Covid-19 outbreak.

The Welsh Sports Association understands that the major mobile phone operators have committed to “zero-rating” all data charges, meaning customers will not be charged for data when using the app.

Vaughan Gething, Wales health minister, said: “The launch of the NHS Covid-19 app is an important part of coronavirus response, supporting Test, Trace, Protect here in Wales, and the Test and Trace programme in England. Working on a joint England and Wales basis is the most practical option here, as we know there is a lot of movement across our shared border.

“The Welsh Government has worked closely with the NHS App team to ensure the app is easy-to-use and gives people the right advice and guidance, tailored to the country they reside in.”

The Welsh Sports Association welcomes the introduction of the contract tracing app and would encourage members to support this important part of Wales’ Test Trace Protect programme, and to control the spread of Covid-19, so that we can continue to push for a phased return to sport and leisure.

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