IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

UK's contact-tracing app will be ready in "two to three weeks"

NHSX CEO says app will be "crucial" in easing lockdown restrictions

NHSX CEO Matthew Gould has announced that the UK’s contact-tracing app, which is will help to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions, will be released to the public in May. 

Speaking to the Science and Technology Committee, Gould said that the app would be "technically ready" for deployment in "two to three weeks".

He also stated that the app, which will alert users to recent contacts who are infected with coronavirus, would be crucial for the UK to exit lockdown without creating an environment for an even greater virus outbreak.

"If you want to protect the NHS and stop it being overwhelmed and, at the same time, want to get the economy moving, then the app is going to be part of an essential part of a strategy for doing that," he said.

Gould’s announcement comes just days after the UK government made the unexpected decision to adopt a centralised model for its contact-tracing app, snubbing Apple and Google's jointly-developed decentralised API which has been chosen by other European countries.

Professor Christophe Fraser, a senior group leader in pathogen dynamics at the University of Oxford Big Data Institute who has been providing crucial advice during the app’s development, told the Committee that only a centralised approach would provide epidemiologists with enough insight into how effective the app was proving to be.

“Because we don’t know what the uptake of the app will be, in scenarios that are relatively pessimistic we found that if roughly 60% of the population use the app, it would be enough to bring the reproduction number below one and control the epidemic,” he said.

The Science and Technology Committee also heard that the development of the app did not start until 7 March, just two weeks before the UK went into lockdown.

Gould said that the “teams of people looking at it 24/7”, adding: "We are, I hope, on course to have the app ready for when it will be needed, for the moment when the country looks to have the tools to come out of lockdown safely."

Last week, the app was being tested at a North Yorkshire Royal Air Force base, with the health secretary describing the trials as "going well".

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

A new age of asset management
Active Directory

A new age of asset management

1 Jun 2022
Google rescinds mandatory vaccination policy for US staff
Business operations

Google rescinds mandatory vaccination policy for US staff

24 Feb 2022
How coronavirus has accelerated the digital transformation of Britain's public sector
public sector

How coronavirus has accelerated the digital transformation of Britain's public sector

28 Jan 2022
How to manage people successfully from a distance
Business strategy

How to manage people successfully from a distance

27 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022
Macmillan Publishers hit by apparent cyber attack as systems are forced offline
Security

Macmillan Publishers hit by apparent cyber attack as systems are forced offline

30 Jun 2022
FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores
data protection

FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores

29 Jun 2022