NHS Covid app

Cheshire East residents are being urged to download the new NHS test and trace app.

The NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app was launched yesterday (September 24).

It is designed to make it easier for people to record visits to businesses including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other places where people are likely to congregate for more than 15 minutes.

These also include universities, hospitals, leisure facilities civic centres and libraries.

The app offers a QR code check-in capability, allows users to book a free test and has an isolation countdown timer to remind people to quarantine.

Businesses and other venues have been asked to display posters carrying the QR code specific to their venue, making check-in as easy as possible.

For some businesses and venues this is a legal requirement.

The app uses Bluetooth technology to track time and distance between smartphone devices so can notify a user if they have been in proximity of a positive case.

The NHS Test and Trace service will then contact users with public health advice.

The app will not hold any personal information about you or track your location.

Check-in contact tracing and local area alerts are all done entirely anonymously.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 10 days or until their symptoms have passed.

If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Download the app now from your app store or google play store.

You can find out more information at covid19.nhs.uk

Meanwhile, Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner says it will be a “huge ask” to police the new coronavirus restrictions.

David Keane made the remarks to Cheshire East’s police and crime panel, saying challenges arose due to the fact the spring lockdown saw crime levels dropped hugely, but they have since risen to almost pre-Covid levels.

He said: “The Chief Constable has assured me that officers will continue to provide all the essential services in responding to non-Covid crimes to protect the public and keep our communities safe and will follow the ‘four Es’ approach to address any breach of the coronavirus restrictions.

“This will see officers engage with the individual, explain the restrictions and encourage them to change their behaviour to reduce the risk to public safety and health before implementing any enforcement measures.”

Mr Keane said the four Es are engage, explain, encourage, and enforce — meaning “it is only at a final level that officers will actually enforce”.

Penalties for not following Coronavirus regulations have become more strict, with fines for breaches such as not wearing a mask or breaking the “rule of six” doubling to £200 for a first offence.

Individuals can now also be fined up to £10,000 for not self-isolating when instructed to do so.

Businesses can also be fined up to £10,000 for a variety of offences, from not enforcing social distancing rules to failing to collect customers’ data for NHS track and trace.

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