Original article from Kent Live
As restrictions have eased and cases have risen, more and more attention has been paid to what exactly happens when people get 'pinged' by the NHS test and trace app.
This month alone, more than half a million people across the UK have received a notification on their mobile phones saying they have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus and as a result must self-isolate themselves.
Amid the so-called 'pingdemic', millions more are expected to face isolation as a result of an app alert, with the government saying alterations to how the app works will not be made until the middle of August.
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For anyone who does get notified by the NHS COVID-19 app, it is essential that they stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus.
However, it is not a legal requirement.
Below are seven questions everyone needs answers to, if they are pinged by the NHS app:
1. How long do I self isolate?
The app works by alerting people when their phone registers that it has been within 2 metres with the phone of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 for at least 15 minutes.
It will show you a countdown on how long you must self-isolate. This period is 10 days from being in contact with that individual, so the digits on your phone can work out less for you by the time you get pinged.
2. What should I do if I'm told to isolate?
- self-isolate immediately
- do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home
- do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care
- try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
3. What about the people I live with?
Any people you live with and any people in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms.
If you live with someone at higher risk from Covid-19, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family while you're self-isolating.
Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.
4. How do I know what communication from the NHS is real?
The NHS App and Test and Trace, and any notifications from the NHS, will not:
- ask for bank details or payments
- ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
- ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
- ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087
Always double check any messages you receive, and be on the look out for scams related to COVID-19.
5. What if I develop symptoms whilst self-isolating?
Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) as soon as possible if you get any symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste).
Anyone you live with must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result.
6. What if I don't get any symptoms when isolating?
You can stop self-isolating after 10 days and you do not need to have a test.
7. How will I be contacted, even if I don't have the app?
If you've been in close contact with someone who has Covid-19 and need to self-isolate, you may get an email, text or phone call from NHS Test and Trace.
Text messages will come from NHS tracing and calls will come from 0300 0135 000, or you will get an alert from the NHS Covid-19 app.