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Northern Ireland Covid-19 tracing app reaches 250,000 downloads

In the two weeks since it went live, Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 test and trace app has been downloaded a quarter of a million times

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 coronavirus app has been downloaded by more than 250,000 people in the two weeks since going live, according to the country’s health minister.

The app, which launched at the end of July 2020, called StopCovid NI, anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for the virus.

So far, 39 people who have tested positive have uploaded their diagnosis keys, which have led to 19 exposure notifications to self-isolate being issued to users.

Health minister Robin Swann said that the more people use the app “the more protection it gives us all so I would encourage those who have not yet downloaded the app to do so”.

“For those who have downloaded it, remember to share it with your friends and family,” said Swann, adding that it is “really positive and reassuring to see that the app is already helping in preventing spread of Covid-19”.

“I welcome that app users who have tested positive for Covid-19 have already uploaded their unique diagnosis keys through the app, and in doing so will have helped protect others from this virus.”

Swann has previously urged the creation of an app that could work across the island of Ireland, and the country’s app is also compatible with the Republic of Ireland’s contact-tracing app.

Read more about coronavirus contact-tracing apps

  • The UK government has dashed hopes that its Covid-19 contact-tracing app may at last be introduced into general availability, announcing a new test phase for the redesigned app in the Isle of Wight and the London borough of Newham.
  • Three Scottish health boards are trialling coronavirus contact-tracing software which will be rolled out across the country at the end of this month.
  • Irish eyes smiling as Republic’s heath executive said to be on verge of giving greenlight to Covid-19 tracker app, while UK reveals £11.8m cost of development to date for no return as yet.

Consultant medical adviser and product manager Eddie O’Neill, who led the development of the app, said it is an “important tool” in helping reduce the number of people passing on Covid-19 to other people.

“The more people that download and use it, the more effective it will be,” he said. “Most people who are infected don’t have symptoms, and don’t know they are infected, passing it on to others without realising.

“If you come into close contact with someone who tests positive, you’ll be alerted; equally, if you test positive, you can input your test result into the app and alert others who have come into close contact with you in the previous two weeks.

“It’s important that as many of us as possible are using the app and are familiar with the process. This will inevitably help limit transmission in any future second wave that we may face in the winter, along with the manual Test, Trace, Protect contact-tracing programme.”

In the UK, there is still no official launch date for the contact-tracing app, however, a new trial is due to take place in the London borough of Newham shortly, with a revised version of the app that includes alerts based on postcodes, a symptom checker and test booking.

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