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Is the NHS Covid-19 track and trace app compulsory and how do I download it?

NHS Covid-19 test and trace app on a phone

The NHS Covid-19 test and trace app launched today (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The long-awaited NHS Covid-19 test and trace app launched today, after many delays.

The app could be a useful tool to quickly get people to self-isolate and limit the spread of the virus.

It aims to alert people when they have been near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, allow people to check their symptoms, try to book a test and ‘check-in’ to places they visit using a QR code system.

Here’s all you need to know.

How does the app work?

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The NHS Covid-19 test and trace app can alert people about their exposure to people infected with Covid-19 faster than human contact tracers.

It uses Bluetooth to identify phones nearby, and can tell what distance other people are from you.

The NHS Covid-19 app on a mobile phone.

The NHS Covid-19 test and trace app uses Bluetooth to determine if you come into close contact with someone who has coronavirus (Picture: PA)

If you come into close proximity to someone who has had coronavirus symptoms, and has logged these symptoms into their app, you will receive an alert notification letting you know to self-isolate.

The same applies if you have been in a pub, restaurant, or other kind of hospitality venue at the same time as someone who has the symptoms.

You will be encouraged to log your own symptoms into the app, and ‘check in’ to venues on entry by scanning a QR code. You will then receive an alert if someone who was in the venue at the same time as you logs symptoms.

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Is it compulsory to download the app?

Downloading the NHS contact tracing app is not compulsory, however it is recommended.

The more people have the app downloaded and active on their phones, the better it works.

Within the app, there is an option to turn off the contact tracing setting.

You can also delete the app if you decide you do not want to use it any more.

How do I download the app?

The app will be available to download on the Apple Store and Google Play straight onto your smartphone.

To download it, search for ‘NHS Covid-19’ in Google Play or the Apple App Store.

MORE: When will a contact tracing app be available in England and Wales?

MORE: Charity raises concerns over NHS Covid-19 app day before launch

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Up to 540,000 ‘will lose jobs because of new pub lockdown rules’

Up to 540,000 'will lose jobs because of new pub lockdown rules'

The hospitality industry ‘hangs in the balance’ after the prime minister announced a 10pm curfew and ‘table service only’ rule (Picture: PA/AFP via Getty Images)

Up to 540,000 hospitality workers could lose their jobs as the industry ‘teeters on the edge’ after a new coronavirus crackdown, according to a new report.

One in four hospitality business owners believe they could fail by the end of the year, after Boris Johnson announced a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants and a ‘table service only’ rule.

Trade bodies have warned one in eight hospitality workers have already been made redundant, with 675,000 jobs – 25% of workers – expected to be lost by February 2021 if the Chancellor does not extend the Government’s furlough scheme.

Surveys from The British Beer & Pub Association, UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping show only 7% of respondents are feeling optimistic about the sector over the next 12 months – even before Boris Johnson announced the fresh set of restrictions on Tuesday. This is down from 23% in August and 19% in July.

Samira Heydari, whose dad Ali Heydari, 71, has owned Persian restaurant Safa in London, for more than 40 years, has warned closing during their busiest trading hours will be ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for the family business.

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Speaking to, she said her father had spent decades ‘slaving away and paying taxes’, adding: ‘It took them only six months to destroy it, and his livelihood. This I will never forgive.’

Meanwhile, other hospitality business owners feel ‘blamed’ and ‘punished’ for the surge in cases – weeks after the Government encouraged the public to Eat Out To Help Out.

Late-night drinkers after 10pm in Soho, London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from Thursday pubs and restaurants will be subject to a 10pm curfew to combat the rise in coronavirus cases in England. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 22, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Late-night pubgoers enjoying one last drink after 10pm in Soho, London (Picture: PA)

The changing face of the high street. A man sits outside an empty pub in Dublin's city centre, where many shops and businesses are closed. Pubs which don't serve food have been closed since the introduction of restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, some six months on from the March 27 when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced restrictions in Ireland. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 23, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Brian LawlessPA Wire

A man sits outside an empty pub in Dublin’s city centre (Picture: PA)

Monica Berg and Alex Kratena, owners of independent London-based Tayēr + Elementary bar and restaurant, said businesses like theirs take 70% of revenue after 10pm.

Alex added: ‘We have now been served a death sentence. I’ve been here for 15 years, I could lose my life-long dream.’

The three major trade bodies have called on the Government to take ‘drastic’ action immediately, as the future of the industry ‘hangs in the balance’.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: ‘This research shows pub businesses were already teetering on the edge. 

‘Now the Prime Minister has announced even more restrictions for them, it is clear much more support will be needed from the Government to ensure they survive.

‘An immediate stimulus package is required for our sector in the form of an extension to the furlough scheme and business rates relief, plus continuation of the VAT cut to food and soft drinks and a significant cut to the UK’s excessively high beer duty.’

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, added that the additional restrictions place ‘even further burdens on a sector that is operating with razor-thin margins and needs all the help it can get. It is vital that these restrictions are reviewed regularly’.

A sign on the door of a pub notifies customers that it will be temporarily closing the bar in London on March 20, 2020, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said he was confident the country can slow the spread of coronavirus in the next three months through tough measures to cut social contact. The government earlier this week called for more people to work from home, and avoid public transport, pubs, clubs and restaurants, to try to slow infection rates. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

A sign on the door of a pub notifies customers that it will be temporarily closed (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

epa08688654 A masked waiter serves in a restaurant in Covent Garden in London, Britain, 22 September 2020. Due to rising cases of coronavirus all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England must have a 22:00 closing time 24 September 2020. Further restrictions and measures were set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. EPA/NEIL HALL

A masked waiter serves in a restaurant in Covent Garden in London (Picture: EPA)

Steven Alton, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping, said: ‘This insight clearly reinforces the urgent need for a specific package of Government support for our sector, especially in light of the devastating impact of new restrictions both on trading and in severely damaging hard-fought consumer confidence.’

Rishi Sunak is set to outline his plan to avoid mass unemployment later today after cancelling this year’s budget amid a suspected second wave.

The Chancellor is thought to be considering introducing a German-style scheme as part of a wider emergency support programme.

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