The NHS COVID-19 App: Our thoughts

The much-anticipated NHS COVID-19 app is now available to those in England and Wales, hitting 1 million downloads on the first day of its release. Our Digital Marketing Assistant, Georgia, wanted to put it to the test in her hometown of Leeds.

The app has received a lot of bad rep since it was first trialled on the Isle of Wight over the summer. There were also issues with it not working properly with both Android and Apple devices.  Nevertheless, here at Padoq, we were curious to find out more.

The sign-up process

Downloading the NHS COVID-19 app was extremely easy (available on Android and Apple devices). It was ready to go on my Google Pixel smartphone in a matter of seconds.

I accepted the terms and conditions, typed in the beginning of my postcode, and accepted the privacy policy. When I go on the app, it says it’s “active and scanning” even if I am just in my two-bedroom flat!

Features of the COVID-19 app

Area risk levels

When you input the beginning of your postcode (e.g. SW6), the app lets you know if your area is ‘High’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Low’ and whether this changes (enabled through push notifications)

Venue check-in

If you visit a hospitality venue (such as a café, pub, or restaurant), you will be able to scan an official NHS QR code. When your phone recognises the code, you will have successfully signed-in to a venue.

Read the latest advice

Here you can go to the GOV.UK website for all the latest government advice and measures in line with COVID-19.

Check symptoms

The three main symptoms on the app are ‘a high temperature (fever)’, ‘a new continuous cough’, and ‘a […] loss or change to your sense of smell’. Should a user check any of these off, then the self-isolation countdown begins for ten days. Users can also select at the bottom of the page ‘I don’t have any of these symptoms’

Enter test results

If you have had a coronavirus test, then you can input the code you received through text or email into the app.

My experience

I went out for a coffee over the weekend, and I was able to scan the NHS QR code with ease! It even notified me when my area’s risk level went from ‘Medium’ to ‘High’ on Friday evening.

On the other hand, during the beginning of the week commencing 28th September 2020, I did receive some rather alarming disappearing notifications; however, it has been stressed by the Department of Health that the only notifications you need to worry about are from the NHS Covid-19 app itself regarding a countdown clock, or a location you checked into has been designated a hotspot.*

*This was updated on Friday 2nd October 2020 in line with the new BBC article published regarding the exposure notifications.

What are your thoughts?