Coronavirus Tracing App Released In Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has its own Coronavirus app for tracking and tracing Covid-19, after it was released to Apple’s App Store and Google Play on Thursday.

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

It should be noted that the Northern Ireland Coronavirus app is different to the delayed app for the British mainland, which is still under development by NHSX for the British mainland.

Indeed, the mainland NHS app is still being developed after it switched to the Google/Apple framework, following field testing at an RAF base and a trial on the Isle of Wight.

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.

Irish Republic

“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.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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