Mobile app for tracking and tracing coronavirus cases in Northern Ireland has been released to Apple and Google App stores
The app, called StopCOVID NI, is designed to work alongside the existing phone-based contact tracing programme already in place in NI.
Northern Ireland’s contact tracing programme has been operational in Northern Ireland since mid-May, and involves people with a positive test result being contacted by phone.
Northern Ireland’s StopCovidNI app meanwhile is being officially launched on Friday, but it is available to download on the App stores as of Thursday afternoon.
The way it works is that after a positive Covid-19 test result, a person will receive a unique code by text message.
That message will invite the person to enter the code if they use the app.
Entering the code will trigger a “Bluetooth handshake”, allowing the app to notify any other user who has been nearby for long enough to be at risk of infection.
“There will be some people who won’t be able to or won’t want to use the app, and that’s okay,” Dan West, the chief digital information officer at the Department of Health was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“The more people who do use it, the more protection this will provide to the whole community. We can say that for sure,” he reportedly said.
The app will be intended for over-18s initially due to data protection laws and the need for identifiable safeguarding consent.
The StopCovidNI aims to work alongside the Coronavirus tracing app used by the Republic of Ireland.
Both apps have reportedly been designed by the same company, Nearform.