An app that could track coronavirus persons and alert people who have recently been in contact with them is being considered by the United Kingdom government in limiting lockdowns, scientists and UK health Chiefs have said.
Sick persons could use the app to request a home test. If the test comes back positive for Coronavirus, then an instant signal would be sent to everyone they had recently been in close contact with.
The app would warn people who had contacts with a coronavirus positive person and advise them to self-isolate for a fortnight, but would not inform them which of their recent contacts had triggered the warning.
The app is a part of the outcome of a study by the team at the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute and Nuffield Department of Population Health published in the journal Science.
The study says that the app could be updated to tackle the pandemic more aggressively if required but no one should be forced to enroll.
For example, it says, the stay-at-home alerts could be expanded to second or even third-degree contacts.
And while the paper advocates the app being used in conjunction with home tests, Prof Fraser said his team was currently exploring whether it would still be effective if it relied on people using a questionnaire or 111 helpline advisers to diagnose the condition.
The United kingdom’s NHS tech-focused division’s chief, Matthew Gould confirmed the app is being explored.
“NHSX is looking at whether app-based solutions might be helpful in tracking and managing coronavirus, and we have assembled expertise from inside and outside the organisation to do this as rapidly as possible,” He said.
The Covid Symptom Tracker app showed one in 10 users has a mild form of the virus at present.