More than one million people have downloaded the government's contact-tracing app for England and Wales within its first day of release. NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus. It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot. Anyone aged 16 and over is being asked to install it. The government plans to give its own download tally on Monday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the app "helps us to find more people who are at risk of having the virus" that human contact tracers are unable to find. "Everybody who downloads the app will be helping to protect themselves, helping to protect their loved ones, helping to protect their community because the more people who download it, the more effective it will be," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The NHS is trialling a breath test that could detect the coronavirus in just 10 minutes. The device uses an electronic nose to capture chemicals floating in a person’s breath, and compares them to the biomarkers of the virus.
A trial has begun at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey, which aims to determine whether nanotechnology biomarker tagging can be used to detect Covid-19 infection.
NHS doctors are testing out the machine, which could give results in as little as 10 minutes, its creators say. The device works by the analysing the chemicals in the air someone breathes out after they blow into a mouthpiece for a minute, and is already used for other illnesses. Manufacturers of the kit say it could be a 'game-changer' because it is so much faster than a swab test, but it is too early in trials to know how accurate it is.
Speaking on The Future of NHS Tech – Covid-19 and Beyond webinar, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Matt Hancock told more than 200 virtual attendees how there has been positive change in all three areas since the start of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said it will be “critical” for the NHS to work with the private sector to continue an uptake in use of technology such as telemedicine after the COVID-19 outbreak has subsided. The shift towards digital technology has led to closer working with private sector partners, data-led decision making and telemedicine, according to Hancock.
Hancock said: “Entrenching this better culture, both among patients and clinicians in the system, is mission critical, as well as entrenching data in decision-making, and entrenching the open enthusiasm for using the private sector to solve problems.”
People are being asked to come out and clap at 5pm on Sunday 5 July to say thank you to all the NHS staff who have worked during the coronavirus crisis. It comes after 10 weeks of Britons taking to their doorsteps, balconies and front gardens every Thursday evening to clap for carers.
This nationwide clap to thank the NHS is intended to become an annual tradition. People will be encouraged to applaud the heroes of the pandemic with family and friends at 5pm that Sunday, which is the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. Many broadcasters will break away from normal programming to mark the moment.
On 4 July, the evening before, people will be asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of all those lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Major public buildings, including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch, will be lit up in blue.
At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, households across the country regularly applauded healthcare workers from their doorsteps every Thursday evening. The Clap for Carers initiative started on 25 March and was the brainchild of Dutch-born Londoner Annemarie Plas. The weekly tradition was often accompanied by the banging of pots and pans. It was Ms Plas herself who called for the tradition to end after its 10th week and she expressed her hope that it could instead become an annual event.
Health leaders have set out a series of measures to help local hospitals plan to increase routine operations and treatment, while keeping the necessary capacity and capability to treat future coronavirus patients.
Over the coming weeks patients who need important planned procedures – including surgery – will begin to be scheduled for that care, with specialists prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need, but, in line with measures currently in place to protect staff and patients who have been receiving urgent treatment during the pandemic, they will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days and be clear of any symptoms before being admitted.
Testing will also be increasingly offered to those waiting to be admitted to provide further certainty for patients and staff that they are COVID-free. This approach will help to protect patients from potentially catching the virus in hospital, and help staff to ensure they are using the correct infection control measures and protective equipment. Those requiring urgent and emergency care will continue to be tested on arrival and streamed accordingly, with services split to make the risk of picking up the virus in hospital as low as possible. Those attending emergency departments and other ‘walk-in’ services will be required to maintain social distancing, with trusts expected to make any adjustments necessary to allow this.