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NI Covid-19 tracing app extended to young people from September

The app was launched on July 31 and has already been downloaded more than 300,000 times.

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Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 tracing app is to be extended to children and young people from next month, health minister Robin Swann said (David Young/PA)

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 tracing app is to be extended to children and young people from next month, health minister Robin Swann said (David Young/PA)

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 tracing app is to be extended to children and young people from next month, health minister Robin Swann said (David Young/PA)

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 tracing app is to be extended to children and young people from next month, the health minister said.

The phone app designed to monitor the spread of the virus was launched on July 31 and has already been downloaded more than 300,000 times.

Robin Swann said: “I am pleased to confirm that we are on course to extend the StopCOVID NI app to children and young people from September.

“My department has worked with the Children’s Commissioner and the Information Commissioner’s Office to identify a way that younger people can get consent to use it without impacting anonymity.

“This is very good news – especially with school, colleges and universities restarting.”

We are continuing to work to improve the app, and have been receiving helpful feedback from usersDan West

Mr Swann urged everyone who has not yet downloaded the app to do so as soon as possible.

He said: “Passing the 300,000 mark is a great achievement in a short space of time but we have to maintain the momentum.

“The more people get on board, the more effective the app will be in breaking chains of transmission of the virus.

“It only takes a few minutes to download it and this simple step could prevent you from spreading Covid-19 to your family and friends, and reduce the chances of another lockdown.”

To date, 160 people who have had a positive test for Covid have uploaded data from their apps and then 237 others have been alerted through an exposure notification in the app, advising them to self-isolate.

The integration across the island of Ireland is also working well, the department said, with the 160 Northern Ireland diagnosis keys being passed across the border to health authorities in the Republic of Ireland and 1,042 diagnosis keys being passed in return.

Dan West, Department of Health chief digital information officer, said: “We are continuing to work to improve the app, and have been receiving helpful feedback from users.

“We released an updated version of the app last week, reflecting the feedback, and correcting all minor issues reported by users.

“We will continue to respond to the public’s feedback, and very much welcome it.”

PA