UK’s Contact Tracing App To Be Rolled Out In A Couple Of Weeks

A woman passes NHS rainbow posters in an estate agent's window in south London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
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April 28, 2020 10:24 a.m.
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LONDON — An official says the British government’s virus contact tracing app will be ready in two to three weeks.

Britain and many other countries are developing mobile apps to help reduce infections after they ease lockdown restrictions.

Matthew Gould, CEO of the National Health Service’s digital transformation unit, says a San Francisco-based software company Pivotal Labs has done most of the work building the app.

He told Parliament’s science and technology select committee the rollout will be part of a wider post-lockdown strategy that includes expanded testing.

The app will use Bluetooth signals to anonymously log when a user comes into close contact with others. The data is kept on devices. But if users later develop COVID-19 symptoms or get positive test result, they can choose to upload the data to a central server so those contacts can be alerted.

Gould says such an approach would maintain user privacy while allowing authorities to see any patterns in the movement of the virus.

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