Coronavirus (COVID-19): StopCOVID NI proximity app

Most people with COVID-19 won’t know until they get symptoms. They could pass on the infection without knowing they have it. Contact tracing is a method to help prevent the further spread of infections.  When someone has a positive test, it aims to let people they have been in close contact with know, so they can avoid passing it on.

About the StopCOVID NI proximity app

The app has been designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Northern Ireland by anonymously contacting other app users who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

It will help contact people you don’t know that may not be warned through the Digital Self-Trace (DST) service or by the manual contact tracers.

The app does not collect or store you information and so cannot share this with the contact tracing team or others.

Downloading the app

The app has been designed specifically for use on mobile phones. It cannot be downloaded to Ipads or other mobile devices

The app is available from both the Apple App store and the Google Play store:

Who should download the app

The StopCOVID NI contact tracing app is free to download and use to anyone who is:

  • aged 11 years and older
  • a resident in Northern Ireland

It is intended only for people resident in Northern Ireland.

Users downloading the app who are not resident in Northern Ireland will not be able to receive authorisation codes as the app is linked to the NI test registry.

Once you activate the app, you will be asked to confirm you are a resident in Northern Ireland.

StopCOVID NI app  for 11-17 year olds

The StopCOVID NI app is also open to young people, aged 11 to 17, to download. StopCOVID app young people homepage

It’s the same app; it just looks a bit different.  

The app does not collect any of your personal information or track your location.

It works via Bluetooth, but it won’t use much battery or data allowance.

By using the app you will help reduce the spread of coronavirus, helping to protect your family, friends and community.

How the app works

The process for how the app works is outlined below: 

  • phones of those using the app emit anonymised coded ‘keys’, ‘Identifier Beacons’, which change every 15 minutes
  • ‘keys’ are stored on the user’s phone for 14 days before being discarded
  • when close to each other, app users’ phones exchange these anonymous ‘keys’, and if they are in close proximity with another user for a significant period of time, both will store the anonymous ‘key’ of the other phone for 14 days
  • if an app user tests positive for COVID-19 the app will notify any app users that have been closer than two metres for more than fifteen minutes (this is in line with current public health policy, and can be changed depending on advised best practice), in the previous 14 days
  • if you get a notification via the app telling you that you were in contact with someone who has tested positive you must self-isolate for 14 days

The process is also outlined in the video below:

Apple and Google have developed a method that allows specific government-only COVID-19 apps to make use of Bluetooth technology on phones that would otherwise not be available.

As the app will need to use the most current version of the phone’s operating system, users may be asked to upgrade their operating system the first time they use it. Your information is never shared with Apple or Google. The app cannot be used on older phones, on which it is not possible to upgrade the operating system.

It is only available on phones that use Android or iOS operating systems.

StopCOVID NI 'easy explainer'

Using the app outside of Northern Ireland

You will be able to continue using the app it if you travel to:

  • England
  • Jersey
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales

You do not need to do anything for this to work, simply keep the app active while in the places listed above. Your phone will be able to connect to the relevant apps and continue to provide an alert if you have been in close contact with another app user who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). 

This compatibility will allow those having to travel for essential reasons to continue to be alerted via the StopCOVID NI app.

StopCOVID NI exposure notifications explained

This is an image of an exposure notification.   stopCOVID app exposure notification

 

If you receive this notification it means you have been close to another app user who has tested positive.

If you test positive for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will receive a unique test result code. The code is valid for 24 hours. You can add that result code to the app and alert others. This will never reveal who you are or where you are.

Codes should only be entered into the phone of the person being tested. A parent or guardian should not be entering children’s codes into their own phones, as this will not send close contact alerts to the correct individuals.

This will result in the wrong people self- isolating for a period of time, while those who potentially have the virus will continue to circulate within the community.

Self-isolating and self-isolation certificates

Self-isolation period

The app will now tell you the date that you can exit self- isolation based on when you came in to contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.   self-isolation calculation exposure notification

 

 

You should self-isolate for 14 days from the day you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.  self-isolation calculation explained

 

 

The app uses your exposure date (the day you came in to contact with someone who tested positive) to calculate how many more days you need to self-isolate for.

The privacy of app users will still be maintained.

You may wish to share this information with others, which you can do this by sending a certificate to individuals or organisations that you select.

Self-isolation certificate

If the Stop COVID NI app asks you to self- isolate, you can send a notice of this to someone else, for example, your employer or your school.  

an example of self-isolation certificate
An example of self-isolation certificate

 

 

The certificate will include your:

  • name
  • notice reference number
  • the date on which you can leave isolation

To complete a notice form you will be asked to provide your:

  • name
  • email address
  • the names and email addresses of the people you want to send the certificate to

The certificate will then be sent using the secure GOV.UK email service before deleting all the information you provided.

You can only do this once for each period of self-isolation so please check all the email addresses you have provided are correct. HSC cannot retrieve copies of certificates.

You may be eligible for a grant from the Department for Communities to support you through self-isolation. If so tick the box to send the email directly to Department for Communities.

You will receive a confirmation notice that the emails have been sent.

Turning the app off

The app should be active as much as possible. If you need to disable it, you can do this by turning off your phone’s Bluetooth.

If you work somewhere that uses social distancing and added safety measures (for example, perspex screens and PPE), you can disable the app while working.

The app doesn’t know you have extra protection from close contact in this scenario, so disabling it will avoid ‘false’ contact notifications.

What data the app uses

The following app metrics will be collected from your app:

  • the number of app users
  • ratio of exposure notifications to positive cases, measured at a regional level (not related to any individual user)

The Department of Health will not know who, where or when, simply total numbers of ‘authorisation codes’ and ‘exposure notifications’ in any given time period.

No personally identifiable information is entered on the app. The ‘app settings’ gives you the ability to remove the app at any time, and any information stored on the phone while using the app.

Additional information and resources

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email:
rating@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about property valuation, email:
valuation@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about land registry, email:
CustomerInformation.LandRegistration@finance-ni.gov.uk

For mapping queries, email:
Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.