The long-awaited NHS coronavirus contact-tracing app will finally be launched in England and Wales on September 24.
Health secretary Matt Hancock described the app’s launch as a “defining moment”, saying it would help to contain the virus “at a critical time”.
It comes amid rising coronavirus infections in the UK, with cases reaching almost 3,000 each day since Sunday.
The app will allow people to scan QR codes when visiting hospitality venues as a way to check-in.
“We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology,” Hancock said on Friday.
“QR codes provide an easy and simple way to collect contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace system.
“Hospitality businesses can now download posters for their premises ahead of the launch of the NHS Covid-19 app. This will allow the public to seamlessly check in to venues using the app when it launches.
“It is vital we are using the NHS Test and Trace system to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and stop this virus in its tracks. This function will make it simple and easy so we can keep this virus under control.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said ongoing trials of the app in Newham and the Isle of Wight had revealed the app is “highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus”.
Ahead of the roll-out, businesses including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new app can use their smartphones to check-in.
Simon Thompson, managing director of the NHS Covid-19 app said: “We are now giving businesses the time to prepare their venues ahead of the app becoming available across England and Wales.”
He added: “The QR system is a free, easy and privacy-preserving way to check in customers to venues, and we encourage all businesses to get involved and download and display the official NHS QR code posters.”