Coronavirus test plan launched on Isle of Wight

Residents on the Isle of Wight have been announced as those taking part in the first phase of new ‘test, track and trace’ programme to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Everyone on the island will receive access to the official NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app from 7 May, with NHS staff and council workers able to download the app from 5 May. The app will work together with enhanced contact tracing services and swab testing for those with potential coronavirus symptoms to help minimise the spread of the disease.

Developed by NHSX, the app is designed to significantly speed up contact tracing, helping reduce the chance of the virus spreading by enabling us to rapidly identify people most at risk of infection so they can take action to protect themselves, the people they care about and the NHS.

When someone reports symptoms through the app, it will detect any other app users that the person has been in significant contact with over the past few days, including unknown contacts such as someone they may have sat next to on public transport. The app will be able to anonymously alert these contacts and provide advice, including how to get a test to confirm whether or not they do have coronavirus.

As the test, track and trace programme rolls out nationally, expected in a few weeks, Public Health England will oversee the deployment of 18,000 additional contact tracers to support the programme.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The Isle of Wight is playing a vital role with this pioneering work to help keep Britain safe. This will pave the way for a nationwide roll-out when the time is right. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our country has ever faced and this app will play a vital role in getting Britain back on her feet.

“The app will help control the spread of coronavirus by alerting people they may have come into contact with it and recommending appropriate action. This ground-breaking technology, combined with our heroic frontline health and social care staff, and both a nationwide contact tracing testing programme will ensure that we remain in the best position to move toward easing the lockdown.”