BUSINESSES across Wales like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, are being encouraged to have NHS QR code posters visible on entry, so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.
The move comes ahead of launching the NHS COVID-19 app across Wales and England on Thursday 24 September.
Checking in with the app will enable people to keep a diary of the locations they have visited, which will be held securely in the app. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak linked to their visit, users will get an early warning alert from the NHS. If they have a positive test for COVID-19, people will be able to use the diary to tell contact tracing teams where they have been, helping to manage COVID-19 and protecting other people.
With coronavirus cases rising in the UK in the last few weeks it is essential that businesses do all they can to protect their customers and control the spread of the virus. The NHS QR code and check-in function are in addition to existing measures. Venues in Wales which are legally required to collect and keep a record of visitors will still need to do so.
Wales’ Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:
“The launch of the NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of coronavirus response, supporting our NHS Test, Trace, Protect programme in Wales. Working on a joint Wales and England basis is the most practical option here, as we know there is a lot of movement across our shared border. It makes sense to use the same app, working in exactly the same way, regardless of which country you’re in.
“The Welsh Government has worked closely with the NHS App team to ensure the app is easy-to-use and gives people the right advice and guidance, tailored to the country they reside in. I strongly encourage people in Wales to download and use the app when it launches.
“The more people download and use the NHS COVID-19 app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
UK Government’s Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:
“With coronavirus cases rising, we need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology. The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will undoubtedly aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time.
“We are now urging businesses to download posters for their premises ahead of the launch of the NHS COVID-19 app. This will allow the public to seamlessly check-in to venues using the app when it launches.
“It is vital we are using the NHS Test and Trace system to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and stop this virus in its tracks. This function will make it simple and easy so we can keep this virus under control.”
The app has a range of additional, enhanced features that will help to reduce personal and public risk from COVID-19 as part of the wider test and tracing services :-
Risk alert: letting users know the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district;
QR check-in: alerting users if they have recently visited a venue where they may have come into contact with someone who later tests positive with COVID-19;
Symptom check: allowing users to check if they have coronavirus symptoms and see if they need to order a free test – all in one place;
Test: helping users book a free test through the app; and also
Isolation countdown: if a user is told to self-isolate, a timer will help countdown that period and relevant advice will be provided.
Businesses are just one sector encouraged to use the NHS system. Universities, hospitals, leisure premises, civic centres and libraries will also be urged to display posters in communal areas such as cafes.
Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO said:
“Hospitality’s top priority is to protect the health of our customers and staff but there’s also the added appetite to avoid a return to lockdown and loss of trade. It’s crucial that information is gathered and deployed both effectively and securely.
“We would urge all hospitality businesses to support the rollout of the app and download their QR posters to help defeat the virus.”