NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app helps the national test and trace effort and supports those hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses that are required to collect customer data. Download the app.

Local alert levels on the app

What is my local alert level in England?

When a user registers for the app, they will be asked for the first half of their postcode (known as their postcode district). This will then inform the user of their local risk level. In England, alert level is based on the Local Authority Watchlist, determined each week by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. It draws on advice from the Chief Medical Officer for England, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England. Users will be notified if and when their local alert level changes.

How is an area's alert level calculated? 

Alert levels will be sourced from the Local Authority Watchlist determined each week by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This draws on epidemiological advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England (PHE) to identify local authorities currently of greatest concern across England. Postcode districts will be mapped to the Local Authority they form part of to determine the appropriate risk level and trigger the alert function if the assessment changes. 

Why hasn’t my app updated to the new local alert level?

The majority of Apple and Android users have their apps set to ‘automatic updates’ so their NHS Covid-19 app will automatically update to reflect this change. However, for the small number of users that do not have updates automated they will need to go to their settings, as they would for other apps, to manually update the app. Detailed instructions are available in this FAQ document.

What if my postcode straddles two local authorities?

As postcode districts do not map exactly to local authorities, more than one alert level may apply to a particular postcode district. The app will let you know when this is the case. Use the postcode checker tool to find out what local COVID alert level applies to you.

About the NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app supports the national test and trace effort by:

  • supporting traditional test and trace methods
  • informing the public of rising rates in their postcode area
  • alerting them if they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive (even if they don’t know them)
  • providing a ‘checking in’ function based on QR codes displayed in venues and public spaces
  • allowing people to check their symptoms, and book a test if they need one

Find out more about the NHS COVID-19 app 

Information for businesses 

The following types of venues are required to display a NHS COVID-19 app poster from 24 September. These are:

  • Hospitality – bars, restaurants, hotels, cafes
  • Tourism and leisure – museums, galleries, gyms, leisure centres
  • Local authority buildings 
  • Places of worship
  • Close contact services (for example hairdressers, nail salons, barbers, beauticians)
  • Where an event is taking place in a physical location

The legal requirement to display a NHS COVID-19 App QR poster does not apply to shops or supermarkets where customers are mandated to wear a mask (unless exempt for health reasons).

If your business is within the above list you can create your QR code poster for your business via Coronavirus QR code and learn more about the new legal requirements to display the QR code post through the Government website.

Access resources

You can access information and resources to support visitors to your business.

Where do businesses come in?

Hospitality businesses, venues, public buildings (please see above list), will need to display a QR code poster at the entrance to their buildings that people who have downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app can scan. As a location checker, it acts as a digital diary of locations visited.

This way people who have tested positive and have checked into certain locations will trigger an alert to those other people who have been in that same location. The actual venue that triggered the alert will not be named.

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