A trial of the NHS contact-tracing app has been launched on the Isle of Wight, with a further roll-out of the tool expected in the coming weeks.
The smartphone app is expected to be rolled out across the country in the next few weeks.
The app, which has been launched on Apple and Google stores, will use Bluetooth to track when two people are close to each other for a certain amount of time.
If one of these people later experiences symptoms of coronavirus, the app will inform the other and advise them on what action to take, including self-isolation.
Health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday said the technology would supplement existing social distancing measures.
“It’s primarily the social distancing measures we’ve taken so far that will flatten the curve [of infections] and now we can see the curve is going down,” he said.
“The goal is to keep the number of new infections coming down and bring in the test, track and trace app at a point, which we will do from tomorrow on the Isle of Wight and then by rolling out to the rest of the country we will get those numbers down.”
The government has said the app will play a key role in lifting the lockdown, alongside other measures such as testing and manual contact tracing.
The app has raised some concerns about privacy, but ministers have insisted it has been developed with the highest standards of security.
“As part of our commitment to transparency, we will be publishing the key security and privacy designs alongside the source code so privacy experts can ‘look under the bonnet’ and help us ensure the security is absolutely world class,” said Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, the NHS division that developed the app.