The new NHS COVID-19 app is available to download to your smartphone and is free of charge in England and Wales. It is a quick and easy way to check if you are at risk from coronavirus.
The NHS says, “The faster you know, the quicker you will alert and protect your loved ones and community.”
You will also be proactively helping to prevent the spread of the virus and making others aware of any risks.
Protect yourself, community and loved ones
The app can be downloaded from www.covid19nhsuk and has several tools to help protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in, plus how to book a test and symptom checker. Find out more about how the app works by watching the video ‘NHS COVID 19 app – protecting your privacy’.
Below is a summary and explanation of some of the key terminology used by the app:
Get an alert if you have been near any other NHS app users who have tested positive for Covid19 and it will tell you what to do next.
The app allows you to know the extent of Coronavirus risk in your area by postcode from – Low/Medium/High. Counting on the reported positive cases in your area linked to your postcode, the severity level could go up or down and will change every time you access the app if the cases change.
High risk level means your authority, or a neighbouring authority is using additional measures, like lockdown, to scale back transmission due to high levels of infection within the local area, an in depth action plan is in situ with both local resources and national support.
Your local authority, or a neighbouring local authority, has high or rising levels of infection. Please follow national guidance.
In England there are not any post code areas currently classified as low, this is often to reflect the overall increase in infection rate across the country. Within the current environment it is not considered appropriate for anywhere in England to be deemed ‘low’ risk.
- Check in
The app allows you to check into a venue, workplace, leisure venue, restaurant or shop that has an official NHS Covid QR poster. If other people were at the same venue at the same time as you, and later tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), you may get an alert to let you know.
There is a symptom checker on the app. If you feel unwell or think you may have the tell-tale signs of coronavirus, you should use the app to check. The app will ask you questions about your symptoms. It will then tell you whether your symptoms mean you may have the virus and what to do next.
If you report coronavirus symptoms in the app, you will be redirected to a website where you can book a test and it will tell you what to do next.
Depending on how you want to get tested, your results will be ready in 2-3 days. Having your test done in person will provide speedier results, but if you are not able to visit a testing centre you can order a home testing kit which is easy to use and is sent back for testing.
If you have been advised by the NHS COVID-19 app to self-isolate, it will provide a countdown timer so that you can keep track of how long you need to self-isolate. When you reach the end of your isolation period, the app will send you a message with a link to the most up to date advice for you to follow.
So, what do businesses have to do?
- Create and display a poster with a QR code that will enable your visitors, members, suppliers, contractors and customers to check into your venue.
- Ensure the facility to collect data from individuals who do not have the app or a smartphone. This data must be collected and retained for 21 days.
Find out how to create a QR code to display at your business or venue by visiting www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster.
Which businesses need to display a poster with a QR code?
If your business is included in one of the sectors legally required to maintain a customer log from the 18th September, then you are also now expected to display an NHS QR code poster at your premises under law.
This applies to:
- Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, and other hospitality settings open to the public.
- Tourism and leisure venues including hotels, museums, leisure centres, gyms, cinemas, sports, children’s activities etc.
- Close contact services including hairdressers, hair stylists, barbers, tattoo shops, outfitters & tailors, beauty salons etc.
- Facilities provided by local authorities including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries, and children’s centres
If your business is not included in the sectors listed above, but is visited by members of the public and has a space where people congregate, you are encouraged to also create a QR code poster for the entrance to your premises.
Examples of types of businesses visited by the public include:
- Shops, supermarkets and large retail premises, garden centres and DIY stores (QR posters only likely to be useful for cafes, restaurants or other enclosed facilities within the venue where customers may congregate).
- Offices with a high volume of external visitors, meetings and places of assembly.
- Places of worship, including use for events and other community activities.
To view the full list of businesses required to download and display the QR code poster, visit the NHS website https://www.covid19.nhs.uk.
It is good practice for all workplaces to create a QR code poster and display it for staff and visitors to use. Managers and business owners should encourage their staff, contractors, suppliers, and visitors to download the app and scan in every time on entry to the premises.
COVID-19 Self Assessment for Businesses
HSE Solutions, our health and safety division has recently created a COVID-19 Self-Assessment that is free. You get a tailored report, after completing the questionnaire, to help you de-risk your workplace and maintain a safe environment for your staff and visitors. If you would like to take this free audit, then you can do so at www.hrsolutions-uk.com/covid19-self-assessment-survey.
Health and Safety Support
For further information and advice, which includes a free 30 minute call on Health & Safety, Fire Safety, Safety Training or Compliance please call 0844 324 5840 and ask for Dominic Greenwood, our health and safety expert or contact us online.