How has Norfolk found the new test and trace app?

PUBLISHED: 15:55 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:10 25 September 2020

A screenshot of the coronavirus contact tracing app which is launching across England and Wales in what the Health Secretary has called

A screenshot of the coronavirus contact tracing app which is launching across England and Wales in what the Health Secretary has called "an important step forward" in our fight against the "invisible killer". Photo: Jamie Harris/PA Wire

The new coronavirus contact tracing app has been broadly welcomed by some of the first people to download it in Norfolk.

Since the official launch on Thursday, those who have downloaded the NHS Covid-19 app said they had experienced no issues and said it was easy to set up.

Others have raised concerns about the compatibility of the app with their phone and called for the government to resolve testing issues, which have seen many across the region struggling to get a test.

Lee Salt, from Lowestoft, said: “It was very easy to set up. I think we all have to play our part to make everyone feel safe and try to get back to some kind of normal as soon as we can.”

Susan Oakes, from Cockley Cley, near Swaffham, said: “It’s very simple to install. I don’t know if it makes me feel safer, but I’d rather know if I might be at risk.”

Peter Ryland said it was not made clear by the health secretary to say the app only worked on newer phones.

He said: “There are thousands like me with phones over three years old for which the Android or IOS version makes the app not available.

“I spent 20 minutes just trying to find it on Play store before I realised that the reason it is not found is that play store will only show apps that are compatible with the phone being used.

“So my new, used and reconditioned, phone is Android 5 . It has a brilliant camera, an 8 part Arm processor and is very fast indeed. But the NHS app needs Android 6 or newer.”

More: All you need to know about the new coronavirus contact tracing app

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the “vast majority” of people had the right software, adding that some may need to upgrade their phone’s operating system.

The new app requires Apple users to be running iOS 13.5, which was rolled out in May and works on the iPhone 6s, released in 2015, or newer handsets, while Android users need to be running at least Android version 6.0, which was also first released in 2015.

Those who may not have access to the app, or a smartphone should continue to use traditional contact tracing services provided by test and trace.

A number of Huawei smartphones, including the Mate 30 series and the P40 series, are also not currently able to download the app as it cannot access Google’s app store.

The UK’s major network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, giffgaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Virgin Mobile have agreed to “zero-rate” data charges incurred by all in-app activity, meaning they will not be charged for using it.

It does this by exchanging randomised keys while the Bluetooth signal strength measures proximity.

Baroness Dido Harding, executive chair of England’s NHS Test and Trace Programme, said: “This is a welcome step in protecting those around us.”

The app is available from Apple’s App Store on iOS or Google’s Play Store for Android devices.

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