To help cope with this pandemic the NHS have introduced the new COVID-19 test and trace app. The app is available for download on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Over 19 million in England and Wales have downloaded the app with 16 million in just the first day. Randeep Sidhu is the Head of Product in the test and trace app and said it is amongst the ‘fastest downloaded and most downloaded apps in history.’

What makes this app so different from the one previously launched in the Isle of Wight that failed? ‘The app is inclusive and accessible for people most impacted by COVID-19 and is available in over 12 languages, ’Mr Sidhu said. Some of these languages include Arabic, Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu.

Randeep Sidhu joined this project three and a half months ago and having the app trialled just eight weeks later.  Mr Sidhu stated that ‘people would not trust this app due to the first app which was launched in the Isle of Wight’ and ‘people were worried about being tracked by the app.’  However, the app has been successful for many and it runs on software developed by Apple and Google so nobody will know who or where you are.

The NHS COVID tracing app is the fastest way of identifying whether you are at risk from the virus and in some cases it will urge you to self-isolate for fourteen days. One of the main features is that it alerts and lets you know the risk of coronavirus in your postcode district.

 How exactly can this app shape the future? ‘The app reveals the power of technology and tracks in a privacy preserving way,’ Mr Sidhu said. He then added that he does not want people to fear they are being tracked and that being tracked should not be thought of as normal.

When the app was first trialled in Newham people aged over eighteen were able to download it. Now that it has been launched nationally anyone over the age of sixteen can download the app. The reason for the app not being available for everyone was that ‘a lot of people under this age are in schools. Many schools do not let students carry phones with them,’ spoken by Randeep Sidhu. Mr Sidhu then stated that he is looking at dropping the age.