Library image of RAF Leeming 11042016 CREDIT MOD
Technology

Coronavirus: Contact Tracing App Tested At RAF Base

The contact tracing smartphone app could lead to more targeted quarantine measures than the current lockdown.

Library image of RAF Leeming 11042016 CREDIT MOD

A smartphone app designed to help the NHS in the fight against coronavirus is being tested at an RAF base in North Yorkshire.

The NHS app, which is currently being developed, is being tested at RAF Leeming.

The base has been chosen to carry out the trials because it has previously tested apps for the military. 

The new technology aims to identify people who have been near another app user who has subsequently developed COVID-19 symptoms.

The app will then tell individuals to self-isolate. 

The on-screen warning for those deemed to be at risk states: "If you’re on public transport, go home by the most direct route, stay at least 2m away from people if you can…find a room where you can close the door (and) avoid touching people, surfaces and objects."

The software uses bluetooth technology to determine a user's proximity to another who might have contracted coronavirus. 

It is thought the app would potentially allow more targeted quarantine measures than the current blanket lockdown. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said trials of the app were "going well" and that he was hopeful it would allow the country to “control the virus with fewer of the extraordinary social distancing measures”.

An empty Piccadilly Circus during coronavirus lockdown 150420 CREDIT PA.jpg
It is thought the app could bring an end to the current lockdown measures (Picture: PA).

When asked about privacy concerns surround the app's future roll-out, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "I think people do understand that we’re in an exceptional crisis and we need to take measures which we probably wouldn’t think of doing if we weren’t in this crisis.”

Scientific experts and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt have pressed the Government for more details on mass testing and contact tracing.

It is believed that by finding those who are infected with coronavirus and tracing their contacts – and isolating both - the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed until a vaccine is found.

Mr Hancock said the Government was working “closely with some of the best digital and technological brains” on the app.

Cover image: Library image of RAF Leeming (Picture: MOD).