Contact Tracing - Government's pilot scheme goes live
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been leading the daily news briefing on Coronavirus from Downing Street.
The plan continues to be: slowing the spread of the virus and protecting the NHS so that our fantastic health service is always there for you and your family regardless.
Contact tracing is a key feature of the Government's exit strategy from lockdown - but what does it actually mean?
During this next stage of the plan, we are looking to hunt down, locate and track the virus so we can shut it down and not allow it to reproduce. Contact tracing will allow members of the public to notify the NHS (via a new phone app) if they or anyone in their household has symptoms of COVID-19.
The infrastructure required for this national effort is huge and I know civil servants and data scientists have been working hard to get it off the ground. This will obviously need to be done on a mass scale if we are to get on top of the virus and know where its hotspots are.
From tomorrow, Matt Hancock has announced that the process will be started of testing a contact tracing pilot scheme on the Isle of Wight. The island has a single NHS trust and one local authority, making it ideal for a trial run. The island also has a relatively low number of COVID-19 infections so far.
Logging huge amounts of data will be so important moving forward. The idea is: If you become unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, you can log this on the app and people you have been in contact with you will be automatically alerted. They will then be given advice on what necessary precautions should be taken.
This is just in the pilot stage so far, with the idea being that we can roll it out across the country eventually. We need to ensure the app works as well as it possibly can and we will learn a lot from the Isle of Wight experiment over time.
This is an important step in allowing us to come out of lockdown and more information will follow as time goes on.