Northern Ireland launches UK’s first COVID-19 tracing app (StopCOVID NI)

Most people with COVID-19 won’t know until they get symptoms. They could pass the infection without knowing they have it. Contact tracing is a method to help prevent the further spread of infections. When someone has a positive test, it aims to let people they have been in close contact with know, so they can avoid passing it on.

About the StopCOVID NI Proximity App

Manual contact tracing involves calling people who have had a positive COVID-19 test, to try to find out who they might have passed it on to. They will be asked about people they recently have been close to (2 metres or less) for long enough (15 minutes or more) to have passed on the infection.

This helps identify people you know, to advise them to self-isolate, breaking chains of transmission, and slowing the spread of the virus.   

The App has been designed to assist in stopping the spread of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, by anonymously contacting people who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

It will help contact people you don’t know, that would not be warned by the manual contact tracing process, that they might be infected.

At present, the app does not link to the contact tracing service directly. Once someone has a positive test, manual contact tracing will be initiated. It will operate in parallel, encouraging ‘high risk’ contacts that might have been missed otherwise, to get tested.

The StopCOVID NI Contact Tracing App is free to download and use to anyone who is resident in Northern Ireland. The Service is intended only for people resident in Northern Ireland and the Service may not be otherwise used.

The App uses capabilities of mobile operating systems. Apple and Google have developed a method that allows specific government-only COVID-19 Apps to make use of Bluetooth technology on phones that would otherwise not be available.

As the App will need to use the most current version of the phone’s operating system, users may be asked to upgrade the first time they use it. None of the information in this App is ever shared with Apple or Google. The App cannot be used on older phones, on which it is not possible to upgrade the operating system.

It is not available on phones which use a different operating system, other than the Android or iOS systems deployed by Google/Apple.

Download The App

The app is available from both the Apple App store and the Google Play store:

Further information regarding this app – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-stopcovid-ni-proximity-app

Duncan Newell

Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

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