Newham residents have started receiving letters encouraging them to download a new COVID-19 Test and Trace mobile phone app which aims to tackle the pandemic and protect residents, prior to its national roll out.

The app will be available in multiple languages, starting with English, Urdu, Punjabi, Bangla and Gujarati, with more languages added within weeks so that residents in Newham can benefit with the latest cutting edge technology, before it is rolled out to the rest of the nation.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz said; “We know that Newham has seen some of the most significant impacts of Covid-19 due to the health inequalities and vulnerabilities in our communities. 

“With the threat of Covid-19 still with us, it’s vital we support our residents to keep safe and help others. The app is a welcomed addition to all the measures that our public health team have put in place working closely with our local health partners. 

“By taking part in this early phase to trial of the app before its national roll-out, we’ll be working closely with all sections of our diverse community through our Covid-19 Health Champions network and neighbourhood outreach teams to encourage conversations with residents to increase its take-up and improve its effectiveness to keep Newham safe from Covid-19.

“I really would urge all residents to take part in this pilot, download the app, and help friends, family and colleagues, who may struggle with mobile technology, to sign up too. We want this app to be a game changer in terms of helping to keep the community safe and allowing us to start to get back to the things we love doing.”   

Every Newham resident will be sent an email or letter with a unique code to allow them to easily install the app on their SMART phone.

The App features include:

• Infection spike alerts based on postcode – to warn if there is a rise in local infection rates 
• A digital (QR) check-in – which can be used at venues like restaurants, shops, pubs to register you have visited
• A symptom checker 
• A link to allow easy to access make a test booking.
• A timer feature for those told to self-isolate: if a user is told to self-isolate, the app will help countdown that period and access will be provided to relevant advice

The app will work alongside enhanced local contact tracing and testing already offered within Newham and driven by the Council’s public health team to help minimise the spread of Covid-19 in Newham.          

The NHS Test and Trace app has been designed to work alongside traditional contact tracing services and testing to help people to understand if they are at risk of infection so they can take action to protect themselves and their communities. 

The app is designed to the highest standards of data privacy and data security. It will not track individuals and does not hold personal information such as name, address or date of birth. For some features, the app may require more information from the user (e.g. if you are booking a test) but only if the user gives their explicit consent.

Simon Thompson, Managing Director of the NHS Test and Trace App, said; “We are excited to be able to give Newham residents the opportunity to be among the first in the country to take advantage of the new NHS Test and Trace app. The app is designed to give people maximum freedom and minimum risk and every download will help us to keep communities safe and doing the things they enjoy.